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About the little water bear* A commented translation of GOEZE’S note „Ueber den kleinen Wasserbär” from 1773


Abstract and Figures

The fi rst description of a eutardigrade (probably a Hypsibius species) fixed in writing was made by the protestant pastor of Quedlinburg, Johann August Ephraim GOEZE (1731-1793). In 1773 he added the observation “About the little water bear” to his translation of “Traite d’Insectologie”,originally published in two volumes by the Swiss naturalist and philosopher Charles BONNET (1720-1793) thirty years before. Certainly, this description is one of the milestones in the history of tardigradology. The herein presented translation of the original text, which makes available this note to a larger readership, differs in some details from a translation circulating in the internet and, in addition, contains some historical and biographical information. Water bear, Tardigrada, infusoria, microscopy
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About the little water bear 1
Acta Biologica Benrodis 17 (2015)
Acta Biologica Benrodis 17 (2015): 1-27
About the little water bear*
A commented translation of GOEZES note
„Ueber den kleinen Wasserbär” from 1773
Über den kleinen Wasserbär
Kommentierte Übersetzung von GOEZEs Bemerkungen
„Ueber den kleinen Wasserbär“ von 1773
Department Biologie der Universität Düsseldorf, Universitätsstr. 1,
D-40225 Düsseldorf, Germany;
Summary: The rst description of a eutardigrade (probably a Hypsibius species) xed in writing was
made by the protestant pastor of Quedlinburg, Johann August Ephraim GOEZE (1731-1793). In 1773
he added the observation “About the little water bear” to his translation of “Traite d’Insectologie”,
originally published in two volumes by the Swiss naturalist and philosopher Charles BONNET
(1720-1793) thirty years before. Certainly, this description is one of the milestones in the history
of tardigradology. The herein presented translation of the original text, which makes available this
note to a larger readership, differs in some details from a translation circulating in the internet and,
in addition, contains some historical and biographical information.
Water bear, Tardigrada, infusoria, microscopy
Zusammenfassung: Die Beobachtung am „kleinen Wasserbär“, die der evangelische Pfarrer von
Quedlinburg Johann August Ephraim GOEZE (1731-1793) an seine im Jahr 1773 erschienene Über-
setzung der “Traite d’Insectologie” des Schweizer Naturwissenschaftlers und späteren Philosophen
Charles BONNET (1720-1793), die dieser etwa 30 Jahre vorher publiziert hatte, angefügt hat, ist
die erste schriftlich xierte Beschreibung eines Eutardigraden, wahrscheinlich einer Hypsibius-Art.
Diese Erstbeschreibung ist sicher einer der Meilensteine in der Geschichte der Tardigradologie.
Die hier vorgelegte Übertragung des Originaltextes von 1773 ins Englische, die diese Arbeit einem
größeren Leserkreis zugänglich macht, unterscheidet sich in einigen Details von einer im Internet
kursierenden Übersetzung und enthält zusätzlich historische und biogra sche Informationen.
Bärtierchen, Tardigrada, Infusorien, Mikroskopie
*In memory of my former supervisor Prof. Dr. Rudolph ALTEVOGT (22.01.1924 – 04.05.2014),
Münster, who initiated my studies on tardigrades.
1. Introduction
Johann August Ephraim GOEZEs note
“Ueber den kleinen Wasserbär” (About
the small water bear) is the rst published
description of a water bear or tardigrade
(see GOEZE 1773a), i.e. a representative of
an animal taxon that exudes an unwavering
fascination for taxonomists, physiologists,
morphologists, molecular biologist etc. to
date. Only a short time later three further
notes on tardigrades followed in quick suc-
cession without quoting each other (CORTI
17741; EICHHORN 17752; SPALLANZANI 17763).
Since then most reviews, which have been
published from time to time (e.g. MARCUS
1929; CUENOT 1932; GREVEN 1980; MAUCCI
1983), and some original papers quoted the
rst description (and other historic articles),
but it appears that only a small number
of authors acknowledged it in full length
(see however MAUCH 2001, undated). For
example, authors noticed that GOEZE was
the rst who described a tardigrade, but
they did not say in detail what he wrote.
That might be because they did not read this
note, which was previously dif cult to obtain
(today one can download the full version
from the internet for free) or because it has
been written in a language that is no longer
the lingua franca of science. I think, however,
GOEZE’s work is of interest not only for
“tardigradologists”4or zoologists – the dis-
covery of a new taxon is always spectacular
(today apparently more than ever before)
and tardigrades were even awarded (for lack
of evidence) the rank of a phylum for a
while (e.g. see several textbooks of zoology
of the last century and RAMAZZOTTI & MAUC-
CI 1983) –, but also for the history of science,
because also the observation on the little
water bear, which strictly speaking has been
written by an interested beginner, who later
became a serious and respected re searcher,
gives us insights into the development and
the way of thinking and working of an all-
round nature lover of the Renaissance.
The idea to make available some mile stones
of tardigradology to a wider audience arose
from discussions at the International Sympo-
sia on Tardigrades held more or less periodi-
cally since 1975 and in the course of drafting
a survey of the early history of tardigrade re-
search. Therefore, it appeared logical to start
with GOEZE’s rst description of a tardigrade.
However, during the preparation of this essay
I found GOEZE’s text in the German edition
of the „Bärtierchen-Journal“(MACH 2001)
and an English translation in “The Water
Bear web base” (MACH undated).
Nonetheless, I decided to present herein a
modi ed and slightly extended translation,
which tries to get even closer to the original
text, and to present the German and the
English version side by side. An annex con-
tains endnotes that give some background
information, such as very brief biographical
details of the authors mentioned in the
text and the footnotes and some further
explanations, because I think we cannot
meet the spirit of GOEZE and his time, if
we consider only those parts related to the
actual issue, i.e. the rst description of a
tardigrade, and not his “environment”. Re-
garding the person of GOEZE, the obituary
written by his nephew CRAMER (1793) and
the short biographies by MÜLLEROT (1964)
and GEHRE-HERBENER (2005, 2006) have
proved to be particularly helpful.
2. The Author
It is not my intention, to describe the entire
career of GOEZE in this essay, but above all
I address his understanding of nature, his
love for microscopy and his tenacity, which
enabled him to cope with an enormous
Johann August Ephraim GOEZE (1731-
1793) (Fig. 1) was born on 28 May 1731 in
Aschersleben5 and died on 27 June 1793 in
Quedlinburg6. He studied theology and phi-
losophy at the University of Halle7. 1751 he
became a preacher in Aschersleben and 1755
he passed his examination. From 1762 until
1787 he was pastor of the St. Blasius’ church
in Quedlinburg, and nally (from the year
1787 onwards) he held the less burdensome
post of the rst deacon of the seminary
of Quedlinburg. GOEZE was a remarkably
effective preacher, pedagogue and, despite
the fact that he was not a trained natural
scientist, an outstanding researcher.
Strictly speaking, GOEZE’s scienti c career
began in the nal third of his life at an age
of 41, when he came across a microscope.
CRAMER (1793) noted that GOEZE became
About the little water bear 3
Acta Biologica Benrodis 17 (2015)
so enthusiastic during a demonstration
of a “magnifying glass” in the circle of
acquaintances that he persuaded the owner
to leave this tool to him for use. Immediately
he bought the relevant literature (BAKER,
SWAMMERDAM, BONNET etc.) and began to
examine microscpically small aquatic ani-
mals. This magnifying glass was obvioulsy
a compound microscope already manufac-
tured by the university mechanic Samuel
Gottlieb HOFFMANN8 from Leipzig, which
GOEZE (to his own lapidary statement) had
to give a friend. However, only a short time
later, i.e. probably in the rst half of 1772,
he received a new, rather expensive com-
pound microscope – GOEZE was not without
means –, just improved by HOFFMANN (s. also
HOFMANN 1783), and a solar microscope9
(see GOEZE 1773a; Fig. 2). The compound
microscope, which he used until his death,
Fig. 1: Portrait of Johann August Ephraim GOEZE (1731-1793); painting attributed to Fiedrich
SCHLÜTER from around 1780 (with kind permission of Gleimhaus Halberstadt – Museum of Ger-
man Enlightenment).
Abb. 1: Porträt von Johann August Ephraim GOEZE (1731-1793); Gemälde um 1780, Friedrich
SCHLÜTER zugeschrieben (mit freundlicher Genehmigung Gleimhaus Halberstadt – Museum der
deutschen Aufklärung).
Fig. 2: The optical equipment of J.A.E. GOEZE. On the top: Compound box-microscope with
technical accessories probably from the workshop of Samuel Gottlieb HOFFMANN or Friedrich
BRANDER (second half of the 18th century, inventory number Ph. C. 57/125). Below: Solar micro-
scope also from HOFFMANN (ca. 1789), which in GOEZEs experience was not suited for the study of
tardigrades (ca. 1789, inventory number, Ph. C. 57/133) (with kind permission of Landesmuseum
Hessen, Darmstadt).
Abb. 2: Die optische Ausstattung von J.A.E. GOEZE. Oben: Zusammengesetztes Box-Mikroskop
mit technischem Zubehör, wahrscheinlich aus der Werkstatt von Samuel Gottlieb HOFFMANN oder
Friedrich BRANDER (etwa zweite Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts, Inventar-Nr. Ph. C. 57/125 ). Unten:
Sonnenmikroskop von HOFFMANN, das nach GOEZEs Erfahrung nicht zum Studium von Tardi-
graden geeignet war (ca. 1789, Inventar-Nr. Ph. C. 57/133) (mit freundlicher Genehmigung des
Landesmuseum Hessen, Darmstadt).
About the little water bear 5
Acta Biologica Benrodis 17 (2015)
Fig. 3: Portrait of Charles BONNET (1720-1793), engraved by J.F. CLEMENS in 1779 after a painting
by J. JUEL from 1777 (from Wikimedia Commons).
Abb. 3: Porträt von Charles BONNET. (1720-1793); Kupferstich von J.F. CLEMENS in 1779 nach einem
Gemälde von J. JUEL aus dem Jahr 1777 (aus Wikimedia Commons).
was equipped with four eyepieces, and six
objective lenses allowing adjustment of 11
different magni cations .
In just a short time he learned to use it so
perfectly that he introduced this new mi-
croscope already on September 1772 in an
article published in the journal “Hannover-
isches Magazin”10. Here he communicated
some observations11 and announced his
intention to submit further notes in near
future (GOEZE 1773a). In 1773/1774 he
also published a history of the invention
of the microscope, in which again he highly
praised the Hoffmann microscope (GOEZE
1774). Most of this worth reading essay he
integrated in the annex of the translation of
BONNETs “Traite d’Insectologie” (see Fig.
3-5 below) that was also issued in 1773, and
contained the observation on the little water
bear (GOEZE 1773b, c).
GOEZE must have been a hard worker all
his life. He wrote numerous publications
about very different subjects (even before
his career as a zoologist; at that time he was
Fig. 4: Title pages of BONNET’s two volumes of “Traite d’Insectologie”.
Abb. 4: Titelseiten der beiden Bände von BONNETS “Traite d’Insectologie”.
Fig. 5: Title page of GOEZE’s translation and
revision of “Traite d’Insectologie”, in which he
also published the note on the little water bear.
Abb. 5: Titelseite von GOEZEs Übersetzung und
Revision der “Traite d’Insectologie”, in der er
auch seine Beobachtung über den kleinen Was-
serbären publiziert hat.
About the little water bear 7
Acta Biologica Benrodis 17 (2015)
concerned with the history of reformation
and homiletics), translated scienti c works
from French into German and was engaged
in the writing of popular texts. It would go
beyond the scope of the present essay, to
mention or even to assess all adequately. I
con ne myself here to just a few.
The French books, especially on the sub-
jects of zoology and philosophy, which he
translated after 1772, were always supplied
with comments, explanations and even per-
sonal research. These translations include,
among others, the above mentioned “Traite
d’Insectologie” (originally a two-volume
book) of the Swiss naturalist and later phi-
losopher Charles BONNET12 (Fig. 3, 4), for
which he obviously had a particular taste.
The German translation, bound together in
a single volume, was entitled „Herrn Bon-
nets Abhandlungen aus der Insektologie…“,
and was much appreciated (Fig. 5; GOEZE
1773c). This volume was followed by further
extensive translations. To mention but a few:
the 7 volume work by DE GEER13 published
from 1776 to 1783, from which I only cite
the rst part (GOEZE 1776a), and the highly
praised “corrections” of the 12th edition of
LINNE’s14 “Systema Naturae”. This work was
solely devoted to entomology and was also
issued in several parts between 1777 and
1783. In the rst part, a 763 page book, he
explains his intention, “womöglich die noch
herrschenden Unrichtigkeiten einigermaßen
in Ordnung zu bringen“ [to possibly put in
order the still present inaccuracies] (GOEZE
1777, preface p. VI/VI).
Probably less well known is his transla-
tion of Philippe FERMIN’s15 treatises on
the spectacular reproductive biology of
the Surinam toad (today Pipa pipa) (FERMIN
1765; GOEZE 1776b). This sensational toad
was described for the rst time 60 years
ago by the famous Maria Sybilla MERIAN16
(MERIAN 1705). Also this study he enriched
with a careful description and nice engrav-
ings of an excellently preserved specimen
from the natural history collection of the
Duke of BRUNSWICK (GOEZE 1776b). Two
years later GOEZE published a critical study
about the skeleton of the famous unicorn
from Quedlinburg (found already 1663) that
he identi ed as rhinoceros. This insight led
him to ask the follwing question: “Ist etwa
vor vielen tausend Jahren das Klima hier
afrikanisch, und das afrikanische nordlich
gewesen?“ [Was the climate here thousands
years before perhaps an African <climate>,
and the African <climate> a northern one?]
(GOEZE 1786, p. 43/43).
Finally, it should be emphasized that GOEZE
was an outstanding helminthologist17. His
synopsis on intestinal worms contained good
descriptions of tapeworm scolices18 (GOETZE
1782). Scolices in tissue cysts of pigs showed
him that cysts contain cysticerci, i.e. infective
larvae of the pork tapeworm, and are not a
glandular disease (GOETZE 1784a). He formed
an extensive collection of tapeworms, which
was so large and noteworthy that the Em-
peror Joseph II.19 bought it at a price of 1000
Taler for the University Pavia20. The great
anatomist William HUNTER21 offered 1800
Taler for the collection, but, unfortunately a
little bit too late.
Such activities have been recognised with many
honours. Very early GOEZE became to be elect-
ed an honorary member of the „Berlinische
Gesellschaft Naturforschender Freunde”22 and
over the years he became a member of other
national and international scienti c associa-
tions (e.g. GEHRE-HERBENER 2005).
Bearing all of this in mind, the observa-
tions GOEZE presented in BONNETs “Traite
d’Insectologie“ are rst, but surprisingly
thorough, steps as zoologists, primarily
motivated by a great interest and the desire
for relaxation.23
The translation of “Traite d’Insectologie”
was dedicated to Baron (Freiherr) VON
HARDENBERG24, who indirectly had encou-
raged GOEZE to do this on the occasion of
a microscopic demonstration by saying that
BONNET‘s writings should be read by more.
We do not know, when GOEZE began to
Fig. 6: Heading and introductory sentences of the description of the little water bear (from GOEZE
1973a, p. 367).
Abb. 6: Überschrift und Anfangssätze der Beschreibung des kleinen Wasserbären (aus GOEZE
1773a, S. 367).
Fig. 7: Figure 7 from table IV (appendix) showing the engraving of the water bear. Size of the water
bear on the table ca. 3.5 cm (from GOEZE 1773a). Note that the water bear is shown in a position,
in which he obviously was never seen by GOEZE.
The original legend: Fig. VII. The little water bear, a, the head and mouth, b, b, the eyed, c,c,c, c, the
four feet of one side. d, d, d,d, the tridentate claws on each <foot>.
Abb. 7: Abbildung 7 aus Tafel IV (Anhang) zeigt einen Kupferstich des kleinen Wasserbären. Größe
des Bärtierchens auf der Tafel etwa 3.5 cm) (aus GOEZE 1773a). Man beachte, dass das Tier in einer
Stellung dargestellt hat, in der es GOEZE wohl nie gesehen hat.
Die originale Legende: Fig. VII. der kleine Wasserbär, a, der Kopf und Mund. b, b, die Augen, c, c,
c, c, die vier Füsse der einen Seite. d, d, d, d, die dreyzackigen Klauen an jedem.
About the little water bear 9
Acta Biologica Benrodis 17 (2015)
translate the books. If he demonstrated his
own microscope (which is most likely due to
the novelty, price and relative rarity of such
microscopes at that time25), he began doing
translation work in 1771 at the earliest; the
translation was published already in 1773.
The translation begins with a long pre face, in
which GOEZE states that he was authorized
by BONNET himself to do this translation. He
changed many passages (in agreement with
and at the suggestion of the author, as he
emphasized) and corrected obvious errors,
added some supplements, footnotes and new
literature, especially the just published exten-
sive work of the Kanz leirat MÜLLER26 from
Copenhagen about infusoria (MÜLLER 1773).
As most observations by BONNET would not
have been possible without a microscope,
GOEZE gives a summary of the history of
magnifying glasses (see above), which closes
with the reference “von der neuen Einrich-
tung eines höchstvollkommenen Mikroskops,
welche ihrem Er nder unvergessliche Ehre
macht, und mit welchem Instrument die
von mir, der Bonnetschen Insektologie
angehängten Beobachtungen angestellet
sind” [to a “new creation of a most perfect
microscope, which does unforgettable credit
to the inventor and which instrument was
used for the observations added to Bonnnet’s
insectology] (GOEZE 1773b, preface, not
paginated), i.e. the above mentioned HOFF-
MANN microscope. Later, this microscope was
most frequently used especially by German
scientists (GERLACH 2009).
At the end of the preface GOEZE explains
the title of BONNET’s work. He retains the
term “Insectologie” (in German Insektolo-
gie), which was coined by BONNET (instead
of “entomologie”)27, although noting that
the second part should be better called trea-
tise on heminthology. However, he argued
that at the time, when BONNET created the
term insectology, the difference between
worms and insects was not yet known and
that the author did not want to describe a
zoological system.
The annex to the second part contains GOEZE’s
own microscopic observations, namely several
observations on aphids (section I), not only a
con rmatory work, and the descriptions of
“some strange aquatic insects of the surroun-
ding area of Quedlinburg” (section II), which
include the observation on the water bear.
Here GOEZE promoted studying local faunas,
because “Jeder Ort hat seine physikalischen
Vorzüge, und an jedem Orte hat die Natur
in jedem ihrer Reiche etwas besonders. Lage,
Clima, Holz, Berge, Gewässer, und dergleichen
machen diese Verschiedenheit nothwendig.“
[each place has its physical advantages, and
in each place, nature has something special
in any of its realms. Location, climate, wood,
mountains, waters, and the like, require this
diversity] (GOEZE 1773a, p. 360).
3. The Translation
Below there is on the left page the German text
and on the right page the English translation,
both with GOEZE’s footnotes. In the German
text, the original spelling and in both versions
the marking of footnotes with lower case let-
ters (starting at o) is retained. The same holds
for the larger type size to highlight speci c
terms. Explanations and comments, numbered
consecutively in Arabic numerals, appear at the
end of the article. I have translated GOEZE’s
text including the footnotes and Latin citations
as closely as possible, even though the syntax
has been affected in some cases. Further, I
personalize the water bear, i.e. when GOEZE
talks about him, I use the personal pronoun
„he“ (as in German) and I retain the “he”,
even if GOEZE has called the water bear “little
worm” or “animalcule” in the phrase before,
whereas I use “it” for the other animalcules
mentioned througout the text.
The description of the water bear is the
second observation of alltogether ve ob-
servations on various organisms in the annex
of the translation (Fig. 6). All are shown as
engravings on a single plate, from which I
only show the water bear herein (Fig. 7).
II. Observation
About the little water bear
Tab. IV. g. 7.
Certainly, this creature can be considered to
be one of the rarest and strangest one. I call
him rare, because I have found him only a
few times in the winter and not at all in the
summer. Perhaps he must be rare, because
I unsuccessfully searched in all lists of the
greatest naturalists, whose eye have seen
much more than mine. Not even a sharp-
eyed observer like Müller28 seemed to have
found him o).
Strange is this little creature, because the
whole organisation of his body is extraor-
dinary and strange and because his external
appearance, at the rst sight, has the closest
similarity to a little bear. This also led me to
give him the name little water bear p).29
However, you should not fear watching
these predatory animals of the invisible
world, but they are <predators> in relation
to other worms in their environment, just as
certain as the tigers and lions of the African
deserts, because nature has always destined
one for the other. Such is life in the great
world. In the small <world> one animal
eats another as well, because it (the small
world) is linked with that (the great world)
by a chain.
Among the infusoria one sees all possible
shapes of animals. It cannot be assumed
that they have only the appearance, but
not the qualities of these animals. Their
actions clearly prove that there are preda-
o) At least I did not notice it in his latest treatise:
Vermium terrestrium et uviatilium seu animal-
ium infusoriorum etc. succincta historia Hafn. et
Lips. 1773. 4.
p) There are Cercaria catellus, lupus; Trichoda
camelus, lepus; Vorticella felis, catulus u.s.w. S.
Müller Vermium etc. hist. p. 65. 67.108.
Ueber den kleinen Wasserbär
II. Beobachtung.
Tab. IV. g.7.
Mit Recht kann dieses Geschöpf unter
die seltensten und seltsamsten gerechnet
werden. Selten nenne ich es, weil ich es
im Winter nur einigemal, im Sommer gar
nicht gefunden habe. Selten muß es wohl
seyn, weil ich es in allen Verzeichnissen der
grösten Naturforscher, deren Auge weit
mehr, als das meinige gesehen, vergeblich
gesucht habe. Selbst ein Müller, dieser
scharfsichtige Beobachter, scheint es nicht
entdeckt zu haben o).
Seltsam ist dieses Thierchen, weil der
ganze Bau seines Körpers ausserordentlich
und seltsam ist und weil es in seiner
äusserlichen Gestalt, dem ersten Anblicke
nach, die gröste Aehnlichkeit mit einem
Bäre im Kleinen hat. Dies hat mich auch
bewogen, ihm den Namen des kleinen
Wasserbärs zu geben p).
Man fürchte sich indessen nicht, auch
diese Raubthiere der unsichtbaren Welt
zu betrachten. Sie sind es aber in ihren
Verhältnissen gegen andere Würmchen
ihres Elements, eben so gewiß, als es
die Tyger und Löwen der Afrikanischen
Wüsten sind. Denn die Natur hat immer
eins für das andere bestimmt. So ist es in
der grossen Welt. In der Kleinen frisst ein
Thier ebenfalls das andere, weil diese mit
jener durch eine Kette verbunden ist.
Man erblickt ja unter den Infusions-
thierchen alle möglichen Thiergestalten.
Es ist wohl nicht zu vermuthen, daß sie die
blossen Gestalten, nicht aber auch die
Eigenschaften derselben haben sollten.
o) Wenigstens habe ich es in seiner neuesten
Schrift: Vermium terrestrium et uviatilium seu
animalium infusoriorum etc. succincta historia
Hafn. et Lips. 1773 . 4. nicht bemerkt.
p) Hat man doch Cercaria catellus, lupus; Tri-
choda camelus, lepus; Vorticella felis, catulus
u.s.w. S. Müller Vermium etc. hist. p. 65. 67. 108.
About the little water bear 11
Acta Biologica Benrodis 17 (2015)
tors in the small world. The voracity of
some species of these little creatures is as
large as it proportionally may be in bears
and hyenas. Even the tools and weapons,
with which some of these infusoria are
equipped, prove that they are predators q).30
Surely, there is no greater pleasure than
to see the polyps, the rotifers, and other
beasts of prey under the magnifying glass
seizing and swallowing their prey. This can
be achieved without travelling long dis-
tances, without risking one’s life, and without
big costs.31 A glass lens shows us a new
world, and I know from experience that you
will be full of amazement, when seeing that
for the rst time r).32
q) I remind you once and for all, that according
to the Kanzleyrath Müller I understand infuso-
ria only as those little aquatic worms, which
can be found in fresh water lled with vegetable
matters. S. Vermium etc. succincta historia. p.
4. Among the predators of the small aquatic
life, however, I noticed the wildest and most
voracious usually found in the green waters of
cisterns, storm barrels, troughs, etc., which I
have described in the 17. piece of the Han-
noverischen Magazins in 1773. They swallow
bunches of other smaller animals in one go. Mr.
Müller Vermium etc. historia p. 131. n. 142.
has described them under the name: Brachionus
urceolaris. In Ioblots observations d’histoire
naturelle, faites avec le Microscope Paris etc. à
1754. 4. Tom. I. Part. II. Chap. XXX. p. 68. Pl.
9. they are called Grenades aquatiques, couron-
nées et barbues.
r) The re ections of the Kanzleyrath Müller on
this matter are far too beautiful and engaging, to
deprive my readers of them. He says in the in-
troduction of the mentioned treatise, under the
title: Infusoria, how one should assess this matter
according to the greatness of the Almighty. Per-
haps the book: Historia Vermium etc. is still not
Ihre Handlungen beweisen es offenbar,
dass es in der kleinen Welt Raubthiere
gebe. Die Gefräßigkeit ist bey einigen
Arten dieser Thierchen so groß, wie sie
nach Proportion bey Bären und Hyänen
immer seyn kann. Selbst die Werkzeuge
und Waffen, womit einige dieser Infu-
sionsthierchen versehen sind, be wei sen
es, dass sie unter die Raubthiere gehören q).
Es ist gewiß kein grösseres Vergnügen,
als die Polypen, die Räderthiere, und
andere Raubthiere unter dem Ver-
grösserungsglase ihre Beute ergreifen, und
verschlingen zu sehen. Dazu kann man
ohne weite Reisen, ohne Lebensgefahr,
ohne grose Kosten gelangen. Ein
Linsengläschen zeigt uns eine neue Welt,
und ich weiß es aus Erfahrung, dass man
vor Verwunderung ausser sich selbst
gesetzt wird, wenn man diesen Anblick
zum erstenmale hat r).
q) Ich erinnere hier ein für allemal, daß ich durch
die Infusionsthierchen mit dem Herrn Kanz-
leyrath Müller nur diejenigen Wasserwürmchen
verstehe, welche in süssen und mit vegetabili-
schen Sachen angefüllten Wassern angetroffen
werden. S. Vermium etc. succincta historia. p.
4. Unter den Raubthieren der kleinen Wasser-
welt aber habe ich noch keine wildere und ge-
fräßigere bemerkt, als die man gemeiniglich in
den grüngewordenen Wassern der Cisternen,
der Sturmfässer, der Tröge, u.s.w. ndet, und
die ich im 17 St. des Hannoverischen Maga-
zins 1773. beschrieben habe. Sie verschlingen
mit einem Zuge ganze Haufen anderer kleine-
ren Thiere. Herr Müller Vermium etc. histo-
ria p. 131. n. 142. hat sie unter dem Namen:
Brachionus vrceolaris begriffen. Bei dem Ioblot
observations d’histoire naturelle, faites avec le
Microscope etc.à Paris 1754. 4. Tom.I. Part. II.
Chap. XXX. p. 8. Pl. 9. sind es die Grenades
aquatiques, couronnées et barbues.
r) Die Gedanken des Herrn Kanzleyrat Mül-
lers von dieser Sache sind viel zu schön und
einnehmend, als daß ich sie meinen Lesern vor-
enthalten könnte. Er sagt in der Einleitung der
angeführten Schrift, unter dem Titel: Infusoria,
wie man auf eine der Grösse des Allmächtigen
gemässe Art davon urtheilen müsse. Vielleicht
Perhaps I moved too far away from my
goal. So I return to my bear, to whom
everyone will give this name, who saw him
under the microscope even only once. First
I found this little worm on 10 December
1772 in duckweed33 in stagnant water. It is
particularly strange what I want to mention
on this occasion, and what I have noted for
more than two years from my experience,
that the proper growth of infusoria
begins with this month unless it is al-
ready too cold. With regard to insects already
Spallanzani 34 has alleged that they mate
in autumn s) 35. Therefore, one will always
nd larger and more diverse animalcules in
duckweed water during the winter months
than in the hottest summer days. This fer-
tility remains until the spring, when the old
duckweed plants pass and the young ones
grow again. I have noted that the amount
of aquatic animalcules decreases, the more
the new duckweed plants grow up and their
roots become woven with one another.
in the hands of many. Here are his words: p. 1. f.
Si quae de animalculis infusoriis dici possunt, enar-
rentur, verbaque et oculorum acies suf cerent, di-
cendi nullus nis esset. Paucissima magni centiae
et splendoris Numinis optimi maximi documenta
prodere mens humana valet, in plurimis stupet et
obmutescit. Mundus invisibilium maioribus occlusus,
centum abhinc annis, et quod excurrit, adiri coepit;
monstra, forma et vitae ratione, inaudita, alit, mira-
culisque aeque abundat, ac remota Indiarum tellus,
minori vero periculo perlustratur, ubique enim ante
pedes praesto est, nec auri fame visitur. Utrumque
multa incolarum strage conquiritur; haec vero sae-
pe vitae aggressorum dispendio constitit, ille mera
patientia comparatur. Aciculae alterum, quae orbis
terrarum hemisphaeria iunxit, alterum lenti, quae
moleculas solares, moleculasque infusorias, remotis-
sima rerum, sub eandem imaginem sistit, debetur.
In hoc intervallo quid iam magnum, quid parvum?
Ens, quod hoc cogitat, et humana patitur. (En-
glisch and German translation see note 32)
s) Bonnets “Betrachtung über die Natur XI. Th.
V. Hauptst. p. 375 (the German translation of
BONNET’s „Contemplation de la nature « by Ti-
tius (author’s note).
ist das Buch: Vermium etc. historia noch nicht
in vielen Händen. Hier sind seine Worte: p. 1. f.
Si quae de animalculis infusoriis dici possunt,
enarrentur, verbaque et oculorum acies suf-
cerent, dicendi nullus nis esset. Paucissima
magni centiae et splendoris Numinis optimi
maximi documenta prodere mens humana valet,
in plurimis stupet et obmutescit. Mundus invisi-
bilium maioribus occlusus, centum abhinc annis,
et quod excurrit, adiri coepit; monstra, forma et
vitae ratione, inaudita, alit, miraculisque aeque
abundat, ac remota Indiarum tellus, minori vero
periculo perlustratur, ubique enim ante pedes
praeto est, nec auri fame visitur. Utrumque multa
incolarum strage conquiritur; haec vero saepe
vitae aggressorum dispendio constitit, ille mera
patientia comparatur. Aciculae alterum, quae or-
bis terrarum hemisphaeria iunxit, alterum lenti,
quae molecolas solares, moleculasque infusorias,
remotissima rerum, sub eandem imaginem
sistit, debetur. In hoc intervallo quid iam ma-
gnum, quid parvum? Ens, quod hoc cogitat, et
humana patitur.
s) Bonnets Betrachtung über die Natur XI. Th.
V. Hauptst. p. 375.
Vielleicht bin ich von meinem Ziele zu
weit abgekommen. Ich kehre zu meinem
Bäre zurück, dem ein jeglicher diesen Namen
zuerkennen wird, der ihn nur einmal unter
dem Mikroskope gesehen. Zuerst habe ich
dieses Würmchen am 10 December 1772
in den Meerlinsen eines stehenden Wassers
gefunden. Es ist besonders merkwürdig, was
ich bei dieser Gelegenheit anführen will und
was ich nun schon länger, als zwey Jahre,
aus der Erfahrung angemerkt habe: daß mit
diesem Monate, wenn anders nicht schon
die Kälte zu groß geworden, die rechte
Vermehrung der Infusionsthierchen
ihren Anfang nehme. Von den Insekten
hat bereits Spallanzani behauptet, dass
sie sich im Herbst begatten.s) Man
ndet daher in den Wintermonaten allezeit
unendlich mehrere und verschiedenere
Thierchen in dem Meerlinsenwasser, als
in den heissesten Sommertagen. Diese
Fruchtbarkeit dauret bis zum Frühjahre fort,
da die alten Meerlinsen vergehen, und die
About the little water bear 13
Acta Biologica Benrodis 17 (2015)
However, at no time they are more frequent
than if the duckweed looses its roots in the
late autumn, and only their green lea ets
oat on the water surface. When dipping
such a lea et on the glass slide, you will
re cognize entire colonies of aquatic animal-
cules of several species that have lived on
this small island. An experience that will be
con rmed during all trials, because I have re-
peated them often enough. In natural history
often the smallest details are important.
This has led me to digress. I return to my
plan. How I watched my little water bear.
He can not be observed well with the weaker
lenses. If we want to recognize his shape
and details, the strongest lenses are needed.
In most cases I used the second lens of my
When I saw him for the rst time, I found
him lying on his back. Later I saw him always
in this position; whenever I was lucky to
watch him several times.
His whole body is not as transparent as
that in other species of aquatic animals.
The skin, which encases the internal parts,
appears grayish, and is studded with many
black grains (granulosum) like chagrin37.
Inside there is a very opaque, oval and black
spot 38, oriented more towards the upper
part of the head.
The head t) itself is very short and thick,
and has the greatest similarity with the head
of a frog, at least regarding the throat. On
t) Fig. 7. a, b, b.
jungen wiederwachsen. Ich habe angemerkt,
dass die Menge der Wasserthierchen
abnimmt; je mehr die neuen Meerlinsen
zuwachsen, uns sich mit ihren Wurzeln
in einander schlingen. Hingegen sind sie
zu keiner Zeit zahlreicher, als wenn die
Meerlinsen im späten Herbste ihre Wurzeln
verlieren, und nur die grünen Blätterchen
derselben oben auf dem Wasser schwimmen.
Tunkt man denn nur ein solches Linschen
auf den Glasschieber; so wird man ganze
Kolonien Wasserthierchen von allerley
Arten wahrnehmen, die diese kleine Insul
bewohnet haben. Eine Erfahrung, die
bey allen Versuchen die Probe halten wird.
Denn ich habe sie zu oft wiederholt. In der
Naturgeschichte sind oft die kleinsten
Umstände wichtig. Dies hat mich zu dieser
Ausschweifung bewogen. Ich kehre zu
meinem Vorhaben zurück. Wie ich meinen
kleinen Wasserbär beobachtet habe.
Durch die schwächern mikroskopischen
Linsen kann er nicht sonderlich beobachtet
werden. Man hat die grösten nöthig, wenn
man seine Gestalt und Theile erkennen will.
Ich habe mich mehrentheils der zweyten
Linse meines Mikroskops bedienet.
Als ich ihn das erste Mal erblickte; so
fand ich ihn auf dem Rücken liegen. In
dieser Stellung habe ich ihn nachgehends
immer gesehen; so oft ich ihn noch einige
Mal zu beobachten das Glück gehabt.
Sein ganzer Körper ist nicht so
durchsichtig wie bey andern Arten der
Wasserthiere. Die Haut, welche die inneren
Theile einschließt, scheint graulich, und ist
mit vielen schwarzen Körnern besäet,
(granulosum) so dass es das Ansehen des
Chagrins hat. Inwendig zeigt sich ein ganz
undurchsichtiger ovaler schwarzer Fleck,
der mehr nach dem Obertheile des Kopfes
Der Kopf t) selbst ist sehr kurz und
dicke, und hat die gröste Aehnlichkeit,
wenigstens was unten die Kehle betrift,
t) Fig. 7. a, b, b.
both sides are eyes that slightly protrude and
which are clearly visble.39
The posterior end is blunt, and has
neither a tail nor any hairs, not a single of
which is also seen on the entire body. Down
the both sides there are six to eight incisions,
which I believe are just as much air tubes.
The most remarkable feature of this little
worm are the eight short feet40 each of
which is armed with three crooked and
very sharp claws u).41 His movements, I
observed, were always the same. He was
on its back, continuously stretching out
and retracting his feet, as if he wanted to
try to grasp something, and to get on his
feet. However, also when grasping a moss
particle or anything similar, he was unable
to get on his feet.
I have often tried to help him with a ne
needle; but he fell on his back again and
again. I also placed the droplet, where he
was , in a watch glass to see whether he was
able to swim, when he woud have more
water under his body, but without success.
Once I observed a funny spectacle that
was a clear proof for me that his claws
do not grasp very gently, when he seizes a
living prey. One of the common oval little
creatures that are present in all water sam-
ples containing infusoria approached my
bear and was unfortunately caught by him
with the claws of one of his foot. The little
creature did a violent jerk, because it was
obviously hurt. However, the bear did not
immediately release it and so it happened
that the animalcule making intense efforts
to free itself, carried him quite a long way
through the drop. Meanwhile he made no
effort to hold the animalcule, like a captured
prey, more rmly by using his other feet.
mit einem Froschkopfe. An beyden Seiten
sitzen die Augen, die etwas hervorstehen,
und deutlich zu unterscheiden sind.
Das Hintertheil gehet stumpf zu, und
es ist daran weder Schwanz, noch irgendein
Haärchen zu sehen, wie auch dergleichen
am ganzen Körper nicht eins zu bemerken
ist. An beyden Seiten herunter hat er sechs
bis acht Einschnitte, die ich als eben so viel
Luftröhren ansehe.
Das merkwürdigste an diesem Würmchen
sind acht kurze Füsse, deren jeder mit
drey krummen und sehr scharfen
Klauen u) bewaffnet ist. Seine ganze Bewe-
gung, die ich an ihm gesehen habe, war
immer einerley. Es lag auf dem Rücken, und
streckte seine Füßchen unaufhörlich von
sich, und zog solche wieder zusammen, als
wenn es sich bemühen wollte, etwas damit
zu fassen, und sich auf die Beine zu helfen.
Faßte es auch etwan ein Mooßtheilchen,
oder dergleichen, so konnte es doch nicht
Ich habe es oft versucht, ihm mit einer
spitzen Nadel aufzuhelfen; allein es
el immer wieder auf den Rücken. Ich
spühlte auch das Tröpfchen, worin es war,
in ein Uhrglas, um zu sehen, ob es darin
schwimmen könnte, wenn es mehr Wasser
unter sich hätte; aber eben so wenig.
Ein lustiges Schauspiel habe ich einst
mit angesehen, welches mir ein deutlicher
Beweis war, dass seine Krallen eben nicht
allzusanft angreiffen musten, wenn es damit
etwas lebendiges fasste. Es fuhr nemlich
eins von den gewöhnlichen eyrunden
Thierchen, die in allen Infusionswassern
herumschwärmen, auf meinen Bär zu,
und war so unglücklich, daß er es mit
den Krallen seines einen Fusses faßte.
Das Thierchen tat einen gewaltigen Ruck,
weil es ihm sehr emp ndlich seyn muste.
Allein der Bär ließ nicht sogleich los. Es
kam so weit, daß er sich von dem kleinern
Thierchen, welches gewaltig arbeitete, sich
u) c, c, c, c u) c, c, c, c
About the little water bear 15
Acta Biologica Benrodis 17 (2015)
Because the animalcule got caught into the
claws by accident, he appeared indifferent,
when it got the freedom again. He remained
in his usual position and movement lying on
his back ailing permanenty with his feet.
But I followed the freed animalcule and
had the impression that there was a crack
in its back; and that its movements were
less lively than before. It moved towards the
edge (of the droplet) and died. From this I
have concluded that also the smallest aquatic
animals are capable of sensation und pain
perception. Their small bodies do not seem
to be organised like those of polyps and
other worms, in which incisions, wounds,
and mutilations promote multiplication.
Creator of elephants and atoms, of whales
and the living water dots! I am amazed by
the in nite diversity of designs your
wisdom used to shape every body of the
animal, the bird, the sh, the insect, and the
worm in a different way!
By the way, I can not say how my water
bear hunts its prey, and which food he
actually consumes. His entire way of living
seems to to be no more than clinging to the
duckweed, because he can not use his feet
for swimming. Whether nature has given
him the 24 claws only for clinging or for
other purposes, I stilll cannot say. But this
much is certain: One can hardly imagine
something more horrible than our little
creature appearing in the size of a real bear.
loßzumachen, eine ziemliche Weite in dem
Tropfen mit fortschleppen ließ. Indessen
machte er keine Mine, dieses Thierchen, als
eine gefangene Beute, durch Anwendung
seiner andern Füsse noch vester zu
halten. Da es von ohngefähr in seine
Klauen gekommen war, so schien es ihm
gleichgültig zu seyn, als es seine Freyheit
erhielt. Er blieb in seiner alten Stellung und
Bewegung auf dem Rücken liegen, und
zappelte immer mit seinen Füssen fort.
Ich verfolgte aber das befreyete Thierchen
sogleich mit meinen Blicken, und glaubte
auf seinem Rücken einen Riß zu bemerken,
wie es sich denn auch nicht mehr so
munter, als vorher bewegte. Es ging nach
dem Rande zu, und verschied. Ich habe
hieraus geschlossen, dass auch die kleinsten
Wasserthierchen der Emp ndung und des
Schmerzens fähig sind. Ihr Körperchen
scheint nicht auf die Art, wie bey den
Polypen und anderen Würmern gebauet
zu seyn, welchen Schnitte, Wunden, und
Verstümmelungen zu ihrer Vermehrung
beförderlich sind. Schöpfer der Elephanten
und Atomen, der Wall sche und der
lebenden Wasserpünktchen! Ich erstaune
vor der unendlichen Mannigfaltigkeit
der Modelle, nach welchen deine
Weisheit jeden Körper des Thiers, des
Vogels, des Fisches, des Insekts, und des
Wurms, anders gebildet hat!
Uebrigens kann ich nicht sagen, wie
mein Wasserbär seine Beute erjage, und
was er eigentlich für Nahrung zu sich
nehme. Seine ganze Lebensart scheinet
nichts anders zu seyn, als sich an den
Meerlinsen anzuhängen, weil er seine Füsse
gar nicht zum Schwimmen gebrauchen
kann. Ob ihm aber die 24 Klauen bloß zum
Anhängen, oder noch zu andern Absichten
von der Natur gegeben sind, kann ich jetzt
noch nicht bestimmen. So viel aber ist
gewiß, dass wohl nichts fürchterlicheres
gedacht werden könne, als wenn uns dieses
Thierchen in der Grösse eines eigentlichen
Bärs erscheinen sollte.
One of these little creatures I dissected
with fine needles. There came out the
internal parts as grains42. Also the above-
mentioned black bag emerged that, I think,
is the egg-sac. The granules oated in the
water and all looked like transparent bubbles.
I could not distinguish further details of the
inner parts.
Another time, I found in a drop of duck-
weed water, which stood for at least 6 weeks,
some skins or cases of those dead water
rs, v) which still showed the claws on the
eight feet. In such a skin there were eleven
brown and oval bodies, with black spots, in
which the young were enclosed, some of
which were really still moving, as I myself
and several friends observed clearly at the
same time, because initially we considered
this as an illusion and deception of the eyes.
Concerning overall appearance they had the
greatest similarity with the so-called young
globular animalcules, which are encased in
the old ones in just the same way w).43 44 45 46 47
v) Ich will damit ihre Verwandlung, wie bey den
Insekten, nicht behaupten.
w) Dieses seltsame Thier hat den Namen von sei-
ner kugelrunden Gestalt. Es nimmt aber unzählige
Gestalten an, daß man glaubt, ganz andere Thie-
re zu sehen. Es hat oft dreyßig bis vierzig junge
Kugelthiere in sich, deren jedes wieder 6 bis 8 in
sich hat, woraus man auf die Fruchtbarkeit eines
einzigen Alten schließen kann, da es schon seiner
Kinder=Kindes=Kindes=Kinder bey sich führt.
Ihre Geburt p egt also zu geschehen. Die Haut
des Alten öffnet sich an der Seite. Die Jungen
schlüpfen heraus. Die Mutter selbst aber, die auf
diese Weise geboren hat, vergehet, und ist wie ein
bischen weisse Haut anzusehen. Ich bin selbst sehr
oft von diesen wunderbaren Geburten ein Augen-
zeige gewesen. Man kann sie bei dem Baker in
seinen Beyträgen zum Gebrauch des Mikr. p. 418.
Tab. 12. f. 27 und im Roesel Ins. Bel. T. III. p.
67. Tab. 101. f. 1-3. in Kupfer nden. Verzüglich
aber und systematisch ist es beschrieben in Otto
Fr. Müller hist. Succ. Vermium etc. Hafn. 1773. 4.
p. 32. Volvox globator. Linné S.N. ed. XII. p. 1325.
v) With this I do not say that they transform
like insects.
w) This strange animal takes its name from its
spherical shape. However, it adopts innumerable
shapes, so you think to see quite different ani-
mals. Often it bears thirty to forty young globular
animalcules inside, each of which again bears in-
side 6 to 8 <young>, which is indicative of the
fertility of a single adult, because it already bears
inside its children´s children and their children.
The delivery takes place as follows: The skin of
the adult opens on the side. The young appear
emerge. But the mother, who gave birth in this
way, dies, and looks like a small piece of white
skin. I myself observed many times this won-
derful birth process. You can nd it engraved in
copper in Baker’s contributions to the use of the
Micr. p.. 418. Tab. 12. f. 27 and in Roesel’s Ins.
Bel. T. III. p. 67. Tab. 101. f. 1-3 (printing error,
p. 617; author’s note) and above all and systemati-
cally described in Otto Fr. Müller hist. Succ. Ver-
mium etc. Hafn. 1773. 4. p. 32. Volvox globator.
Linné S.N. ed. XII. p. 1325.
Eins von diesen Thierchen habe ich
mit feinen Nadeln zerlegt. Da traten die
inneren Theile in lauter Körnern heraus.
Auch der oben genannte schwarze Sack
kam hervor, den ich für den Eyersack halte.
Die Körner ossen im Wasser herum, und
schienen lauter durchsichtige Bläschen zu
seyn. Weiter konnte ich von den inneren
Theilen nichts unterscheiden.
Ein andermal fand ich in einem Tropfen
Meerlinsenwasser, welches wenigstens 6
Wochen gestanden hatte, einige Häute oder
Hülsen solcher todten Bärthierchen, v)
woran noch die Klauen an den acht Füssen
zu sehen waren. Inwendig in einer solchen
Haut, lagen elf braune ovale Körperchen,
mit schwarzen Flecken, worin die Jungen
eingeschlossen waren, deren einige sich
darin wirklich noch bewegten, wie ich
und einige Freunde zugleich sehr genau
bemerkt haben, weil wirs anfänglich selbst
für eine Einbildung und Betrug der Augen
hielten. Sie hatten die gröste Aehnlichkeit
mit der Lage und Gestalt der sogenannten
jungen Kugelthiere, die auf eben die Art in
den Alten eingeschlossen sind. w)
About the little water bear 17
Acta Biologica Benrodis 17 (2015)
At the end of this observation I would
just like to notice that this animalcule is not
a suitable object for the solar micro-
scope48. He is too opaque and nothing can
be seen clearly.
As the Almighty said: Let there be; when
the earth, this drop in the bucket, ran out
of his hand; then he also considered this
little worm, million times smaller than
a grain of sand, worthy of being created,
and maintained for six thousand years.49
Wìth what intentions, as my eye has seen it
this year perhaps for the rst time? Lord!
Who has been your advisor? From Him,
and through Him, and to Him are
all things – to Him be glory - in the
suns, in the clouds, in the seas, in the
depths, in the visible and invisible
world, in the behemoths50, and in the
little worm, that no eye has seen – to
Him be the glory forever – to Him
be glory also in my heart.
Zum Beschluß dieser Beobachtung
will ich nur noch anmerken, dass dieses
Thierchen kein Objekt für das
Sonnenmikroskop ist. Es ist zu
undurchsichtig, und es ist daran nichts
deutliches zu bemerken.
Da der Allmächtige sprach: es werde; da
die Erde, dieser Tropfen am Eymer, aus
seiner Hand rann; da hat er auch dieses
Würmchen, Millionenmale kleiner als ein
Sandkorn, gewürdiget mit zu schaffen,
und sechstausend Jahre zu erhalten. Zu
welchen Absichten, da es vielleicht mein
Auge in diesem Jahr zum erstenmale
erblicket hat? Herr! Wer ist dein Rathgeber
gewesen? Von Ihm, und durch Ihn, und
zu Ihm sind alle Dinge – Ihm sey Ehre
– in den Sonnen, in den Wolken,
in den Meeren, in den Tiefen, in
der sichtbaren und unsichtbaren
Welt, in den Behemoten, und in
den Würmchen, das kein Auge
gesehen – Ihm sey Ehre in Ewigkeit
Ihm sey Ehre auch in meinem
I thank Dr. R. LACHER, Museum of Ger-
man Enlightenment (Halberstadt), who
contributed the painting of J.A.E. GOEZE,
Mr. K. BOYSEN and Dr. Simone KAISER,
Landesmuseum Hessen (Darmstadt),
which provided the photos of the com-
pound and the solar microscope, and all
institutions that digitalize old literature
to make it accessible to the general pub-
lic. Thanks must also go to KATHARINA
GREVEN (Bayreuth) for critically reading
the manuscript.
BAKER, H., 1744: The Microscope made easy: ...
(3rd. ed.). – Printed for R. Dodsley, at Tull’s
Head in Pall-Mall, London. (http://books.
BAKER, H., 1754: Beyträge zu nützlichen
und vergnügenden Gebrauch und Ver-
besserung des Microscopii: durch 17
Kupferblatten erläutert. – Klett, Augs-
burg. (
BONNET, CH., 1745a: Traité d’insectologie ou ob-
servations sur les pucerons. Premier Partie.–
Durand; Paris. (
BONNET, CH., 1745b: Traité d’insectologie ou ob-
servations sur quelques espèces de vers d’eau
douce, qui coupés par morceaux deviennent
autant d’animaux complets. Seconde Partie. –
Durand, Paris. (
BONNET, CH., 1764: Contemplation de la nature.
Tome premier. Marc-Michel Rey, Amster-
dam. (
CORTI, B., 1774: Osservazioni microscopiche sulla
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obachtungen. Hannoverische Anzeigen von
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mandeurs und Großkreuz .... Abhandlungen
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Abhandlungen von der Surinamischen
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und Ehrenmitglied der Oeconom. Societät zu
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wie sich diejenigen zu verhalten haben, die
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Eingegangen: 25.01.2015
Angenommen: 18.03.2015
Unless otherwise indicated, the biblio-
graphic information about the various
authors is from readily available sources (e.g.
Wikipedia). For some speci c information,
the additionally consulted literature is indi-
cated and cited in the reference list.
1 Bonaventura CORTI (1729-1813), Italian
botanist, studied vibrios (colloquial name for
Gram-negative, comma-shaped bacteria), rotifers,
ciliates, and especially stone worts (Chara spp.),
discovered, among other things, the phenom-
enon of cytoplasmic streaming. His “brucolini”
(= small caterpillars) are insuf sciently described
and may be identi ed as tardigrades only in the
context of the other (known) animals he found
in a gutter and which he studied to show revi-
viscence after dehydration:
Anch’io in bagnando della polvere delle
grondaje ho veduto tornare a vita non sola-
mente i rotiferi, ma ancora certi animaluzzi,
cui ho chiamati i brucolini della polvere delle
grondaje, a cagione di qualche somiglianza, che
hanno coi bruchi.” (CORTI 1774, S. 97).
[I also saw in the dust of the gutter, I had
moistened, not only reviving rotifers, but certain
creatures that I have called the small caterpillars
of the gutter dust, because of some similarity
they had with caterpillars.]
2 Johann Conrad EICHHORN (1718-1790), pastor
of the church St. Catharine in Gdansk, studied
as an amateur researcher the microorganisms in
the moat, and other water bodies in the vicinity
of Gdansk. He largely ignored scienti c literature
, but he succeeded in makimg some important
discoveries. His “Beyträge zur Naturgeschichte
der kleinsten Wassertiere” [Contributions to the
natural history of the smallest aquatic animals]
were published in 1775 (Gdansk) and 1781 (Ber-
lin). The description of the water bear is far from
reaching GOEZEs presentation:
„Ist der Wasser=bär; ich fand dieses Thier
1767, den 10. Junii in einem Wasser das eine
geraume Zeit über dem Kraut gestanden, und
oben einen grünen Schleim gesetzt hatte, in
selbigem hielt sich dieses Tier auf, es hatte 8
Füsse, (8 Füße sind im Zusammenhang mit dem
Folgenden etwas irreführend, denn er gibt im
Folgenden 10 an und bildet auch 10 ab, Anm.
d. Verf.) , an jeder Seite 4, und 2 hinten, die mit
starken Krallen besetzt waren, es hatte nichts
von dem an sich, was sonst die andere Insecten,
in Ansehung ihres künstlichen Gebäudes oder
ihrer Bewegung, dem Auge angenehm macht;
Es ist dem blossen Auge unsichtbar, und gehöret
nur für das Vergrösserung=Glaß.“ (EICHHORN
1775, p. 74/75).
[It’s the water bear; I found this animal on
10 June 1767 in water that has stood some time
over plants and had green slime on its surface,
in which the animal stayed. It had 8 feet (8 feet
is somewhat misleading as he mentions 10 in the
following and his gure shows a tardigrade with
10 legs; translator’s note), on each side four, and
two at the posterior end, which were equipped
with strong claws; it showed nothing from those,
what in other insects is a delight to the eyes when
viewing their elaborate organisation or motion.
It is invisible for the naked eye, and is reserved
to the magnifying glass.]
3 Lazzaro SPALLANZANI (1729-1799), an Italian
polymath, catholic priest and naturalist, who
made important contributions to the experimen-
tal study of bodily functions, animal reproduc-
tion, and echolocation. His research of biogenesis
About the little water bear 21
Acta Biologica Benrodis 17 (2015)
paved the way for the downfall of preformation-
ism theory (the idea that organisms develop from
miniature versions of themselves) discovered
hermetic sealing as a means of preserving food.
Thus, SPALLANZANI established that microbes are
never spontaneously generated.
Like CORTI, SPALLANZANI discovered tardigra-
des while studying anhydrobiosis of rotifers, and
“Nel bagnar l’ arena a’ Rotiferi più ate mi era
corso all’ occhio un Animaluccio pendente al
giallognolo, corredato di sei gambe, tre in quattro
volte più grosso del Rotifero, ma ch‘ io aveva
trascurato per averlo creduto un piccolo Insetto
terrestre, caduto a caso ne’ cristalli da orologio,
dov’ io conservava l’ arena. Il motivo di crederlo
tale fu l’averlo sempre veduto muoversi a sghembo,
e stentatamente nel fondo dell’ acqua, quasi non
sapesse andare, e tante volte rivolto con le gambe
all’ insù, e cercante del continuo per via di replicati
sforzi di mettersi nella naturale sua positura, ma per
lo più inutilimente, come appunto suole accadere
a tanti lnsetti e d‘aria , e di terra caduti acciden-
talmente nell‘acque. Ma un esame piu seguito, e
più rittessivo me lo fece conoscere per Animale
veramente acquatico, il quale in tanto andava dirò
così di brutto garbo, e a bistento, in quanto che
non poteva tenersi in piè ritto per la liscezza della
picciola lastra di cristallo, su cui lo poneva per con-
templarlo. Ma quando immediatamente riposava
sopra l’ arena aveva moto regolare, e progressivo,
lento però a segno, che a riscontro del Rotifero
sembrava una testuggine, che si strascinasse,
onde per segnarlo con qualche nome io non avrò
dif coltà di chiamarlo il Tardigrado.
ll suo corpo è d’ ogni intorno granelloso, la par-
te d‘ avanti tondeggia, e quella di dietro nisce in
quattro letti nel fondo uncinati, che gli servono
per attaccarsi dove che voglia. Le gambe altresì
sono corredate di piccoli uncini, o ronciglietti
lucicanti, e per quanto io giudico di sostanza cor-
nea, che guardano con la punta verso il di dentro
del corpo, conforme si osserva nell’ ugne ricurve
di molti Insetti. La troppa corpulenza del Tardi-
grado rendendolo opaco toglie il poterne vedere
l’interiore organismo. Lascia solamente trapelare
di mezzo al corpo una macchiuzza elittica, ch’
io sospetterei il serbatoio degli alimenti. Così la
parte d’ avanti è pur segnata interiormente d’una
macchietta lucida più piccola , e più stretta, stesa
come l’ altra per lo lungo, che qualche volta mi è
andato per la mente, che potesse esser l‘esofago.
La forma del corpo è qualche cosa di tozzo , e
rozzamente somiglia ad un granello di gallo. La
g. VII. Tav. IV. rappresenta il Tardigrado veduto
supino, e la g.VIII. veduto di anco.
Questo Animaluccio non fa vortice nell’ acqua,
nè è punto a supirsene, non avendo nè ruote, nè
punterelle vibranti, che nel Rotifero, e in altri
Animali fanno un tal giuoco. Pare che il Rotifero
non possa dare un passo, senza attaccarsi con la
coda a’ corpi circostanti: non così il Tardigrado,
che anzi sovente non fa uso alcuno de’ letti
uncinati. Egli non nuota mai, ed è in ispezie più
pesante dell’ acqua; quindi si aggira sempre su
l’arena, o’ tra mezzo alla medesima.
I fenomeni del morire, mancando l’ acqua, e del
risorgere , sosìtuendone della nuova , succedono
nel Tardigrado al modo stesso, che nel Rotifero.
Il moto in lui via via si.?…perdendo, le gambe
si ritirano, e s‘ internano totalmente dentro del
corpo, queso rimpicciolisce assaissimo, si secca
affatto, ed acquista forma globosa (Tav. V. Fig.
IX.). Ed il contrario del n quì narrato accade
vivi cando il Tardigrado con acqua novella. E
siccome il Rotifero è limitato nelle volte, che
può risorgere, così interviene al Tardigrado.
Sembra però questo portarsi meglio in ciò, che
quantunque l’arena conferisca per gran maniera al
suo risorgere, non è però sì strettamente richiesta,
come veduto abbiam nel Rotifero.
Que‘ gradi di calore, che ſon fatali ai Rotiferi
rissorti o da risorgere, lo sono aí Tardigradi, e
lo stesso vuoldirsi degli odori, e dei liquori. Il
freddo all‘ opposito; per quantunque aspro che
sia, nulla può contra di essi , onde anche in ciò si
accordano coi Rotiferi.
Tardigradi relativamente ai Rotiferi sono assai
rari, così che è dir molto, se ad ogni venti cinque
Rotiferi si incontrano tre o quattro Tardigradi.
Tutti portano la medesima configurazione,
quantunque dissomiglino nella grandezza. Ne
ho isolati di molti, con nandoli solitari ne’ vetri
da orologio, ora misti all’ arena nativa, ora lasciati
nell’acqua schietta. Lo scopo era di cercare come
propagano. Ma in vece di propagare mi sono
sempre periti, quali più presto, quali più tardi, tutti
però non ancora spirato il sesto di.” (SPALLANZANI
1776 , pp. 223-226).
I quote here the corresponding paragraph in
the translation of SPALLANZANI’s “Opuscoli” from
1803 by the Scottish advocate, antiquary and
naturalist Sir John Graham DALYELL (1775-1851)
(see SPALLANZANI 1803):
“On wetting wheel animal’s sand, I several
times observed a yellowish animal three or four
times larger than a wheeler with six legs; but I
paid no particular attention to it, supposing that
its was some little terrestrial insect that has casu-
ally fallen into the watch-glass were the sand was
kept. My reason for thinking so, was from always
having seen it move obliquely and very slowly at
the bottom of the water, as if unable to walk, and
often supine, making great exertions to recover its
natural position, but they were in general fruitless,
as happens to many aerial and terrestrial insects
casually falling into into water. At the same time,
with more continued and careful observations,
I recognized it as an animal really aquatic, and
perceived that its awkward and laborious mode
of progression was from the smoothness of
the glass slider on which it had been put for
examination, and, when placed on sand, that it
had a regular progressive motion, slow indeed,
and, compared with the wheel animal’s motion,
like the crawling of a tortoise. Thus to design it
by some descriptive name, I called it the Sloth.
The whole body is granulated: the anterior
part obtuse: and the posterior terminated by four
hooked laments, which serve for attaching it to
any particular place. The limbs have small shining
claws, or nails, which, as far as one can judge,
are of a corneous substance, the points turned
towards the body, as we see in the recurved claws
of several insects. The corpulence of the sloth,
rendering it opaque, prevents us from seeing the
internal organization. But we can perceive a small
elliptical spot in the middle of the body, which
I suspect to be the reservoir of the aliments. In
the anterior part is also distinguished an internal
lucid spot, smaller, narrower, and longer than
the other, which I have sometimes supposed the
oesophagus. The gure of the whole is clumsy,
and very much resembles the testicle of a cock.
The sloth is represented supine, g. 7. pl. 3. the
pro le is seen g. 8.
This animalcule forms no vortex in the water,
which is not surprising, as it had neither the
wheels nor brillae of the animals that perform
this operation. It appears that the wheel animal
cannot advance a step without xing the trident
to some adjacent substance; it is otherwise with
the sloth, for it often makes no use of its hooked
laments. It never swims; it is speci cally heavier
than the water; thence it always turns round on
the surface of the sand, or amongst it.
The phenomena of its death, from the want of
water, and of resurrection when water is supplied,
are precisely the same with those of the wheel
animal. Motion gradually ceases: the limbs are
contracted and drawn entirely within the body,
which diminishes very much, is completely dried,
and assumes a globular gure, pl. 4. g. 1. The
reverse succeeds when the sloth is revived by
supplying water. As the wheel animal can only
revive a certain number of times, so it is with
the sloth. And, although sand is necessary for
its resurrection, it does not appear so essential
as for the wheel animal.
The degrees of heat, fatal to revived or dead
wheel animals, are also fatal to sloths; and the
same must be said of odours and liquors. Cold,
however intense, does them not harm, and in
this they likewise coincide with wheel animals.
Sloths are infinitely more rare than wheel
animals: for ve and twenty of these, four or
ve sloths are hardly found. All are of the same
gure, but not equal in size. I have isolated many
in watch-glasses, sometimes with sand and some-
times with pure water, intending to discover their
mode of propagation, but, instead of multiplying,
all per ished: some sooner, some later, none ever
attaining the sixth day” (SPALLANZANI 1803, pp.
DALYELL added an interesting footnote to these
observations; in an appendix he relativized the
„novelty“ of the species observed by himself.
“(1) This animalcule is uncommonly rare. I have
never seen a description of it by any other natu-
ralist: and it only occurred to me in two infusions.
Muller‘s Cercaria Hirta, which he found but twice,
seems to have some resemblance, but he does not
say enough of the properties to ascertain it, nor
does he remark any feet. I had mine from June until
the following February. They were very minute,
not one tenth of the size of those mentioned in
the text, which, added to their rarity, was an abso-
lute bar to experiment. They had no terminating
projections or hooks, nor were the different fascia
visible. However, I sometimes thought two hooks
of very few were perceptible, but I could never be
certain. The animal was perfectly opaque, which
prevented any observation of the interior part.
There was no sand in the infusion, which had been
made of dried twigs eight or ten months before,
and the sloth’s natural abode was among the par-
ticles of matter, especially on the twigs. How it
propagates I am ignorant: it did not multiply much.
About the little water bear 23
Acta Biologica Benrodis 17 (2015)
I have discovered another animal which most
probably belongs to this singular class. It was in
an infusion the same as the former, and there I
had it from the beginning of May until the end
of August. It then disappeared, and I saw one in
the subsequent February. In one other infusion,
I found two or three nearly the same. It bears the
greatest resemblance to a most minute caterpillar,
both in appearance and motion. It moves little,
and then with great awkwardness and languor.
The largest might be about one-third of a line in
length, and perceptible by the naked eye, which
could only distinguish a long white speck, but few
are of this size. Instead of six legs and four hooks,
there are eight legs, the two last exactly like those
of a caterpillar. With the second highest magni-
er of my microscope, I could observe each of
the six legs terminated by two long claws a little
curved; whether the two hind ones were ter-
minated by three, four, or ve, could never be
ascertained; circumstances were very seldom so
favourable as to admit of the others being seen.
In some, I thought the eye might be distinguis-
hed, and an aperture for receiving aliment. There
is a great difference of size. Most of them are
of an opaque dusky brown, which seems their
natural colour. Some are perfectly transparent,
which I suppose are dead, for no motion has
ever been evident, although the fact is not ab-
solutely certain.
I know very little more of the propagation of
this animal than that of the former, except from
conjecture. One night in May, I was surprised to
see three large round substances in the body of
a sloth: it made no impression on me at the time
; but returning to observation, several nights
afterwards, I saw the body of another, of the
largest size, completely lled from end to end
of the whole with ten large eggs. I do not think
there was room for one more. Every moment I
expected to see an egg proceed from the body.
The observation was continued for hours, and
during the next day. The same number remained:
the animal was then obscured by some partic-
les of matter, and all endeavours to recover it
ineffectual. Nor has my success been greater
with the few others appearing with eggs; for,
notwithstanding all possible care and attention,
I never could fee one produced. The sloths
containing them were all perfectly transparent
and motionless. The number contained from
one to ten. I saw one with a single egg, so large
as to distend the body in the middle very much.
Whether these substances are eggs or foetuses is
uncertain: they are probably the latter included
by a ne integument; and I rather suppose that
the body of the mother bursts to give them an
exit or immediately after they are produced.
It is much more dif cult to isolate an animal
that almost never moves than another that is
continually traversing a uid. Sometimes I did
succeed in isolating sloths with eggs in watch-
glasses. When the young appeared, the parent
was no longer visible, at least I could not nd it;
and they were remarkably small in comparison
to others. There was no sand where they were
found; their natural abode was among the par-
ticles of vegetable substance. I did not succeed
in reviving them; but their scarcity prevented me
from making repeated and accurate experiments.
This, if it, is a sloth, may be named Tardigradus
Octopdalis, and that in the text Tardigradus Itali-
cus.“ (SPALLANZANI 1803, pp. 163-166)
Addenda (pp. 437-444)
“P. 163, Note.— Before terminating this work,
it is proper to correct what is probably an error.
It is possible, that what I conceive a new species
of sloth is not so. Some points in its history have
already been attended to by naturalists of great
In the French translation of Fuessli’s Archives
of the History of Insects, Winterthour 1794, there
is a memoir on these minute animals by the cele-
brated Muller. His observations coincide almost
exactly with mine; and he seems to have had the
advantage of a number for examination.
He observes, in the rst place, that ’Eichorn
(sic!) and Goetze (sic!) at the same time disco-
vered the animal, but the former ascribed ten feet
to it instead of eight; and the name they bestowed
upon it was the URSLET (Oursslet ou Petit ours),
from the supposed resemblance to a bear.
In Muller’s opinion, it is not an infusion animal-
cule, ‘though its proper abode is among them, on
the water lentil. The gure and number of feet
approximate it to the genus of mites or acari; and
although neither eyes nor antennae are perceptible,
the other parts induce us to class it with insects.’
He proceeds: ‘Three claws terminated each
foot; something like eggs were seen within. So-
metimes 1 found a simple skin with the feet, nails,
and eggs. This is not a dead urslet, but’ a slough,
such as other animals throw off; but how does
the ovary come here?’
The gure in the Archives, Plate 36, seems very
correct. If we may judge from what is said in the
account of it, this animalcule must have been a
great deal larger than mine.
Whether it belongs to the class of insects may
be doubted: if it does, I see few reasons why
Spallanzani’s does not belong to it also….It is
very probable, that several of what we call infusion
animalcula, are only miniatures of some larger
animals. … Those of the northern nations have
alone been investigated; it is reasonable to expect
new animalcula as well as we nd new animals in
other countries, or new connections with those
already known.” (DALYELL in SPALLANZANI 1803,
pp. 441-443)
4 The term Tardigrada and, thus, tardigradology
and tardigradologists comes from SPALLANZANI’s
“il tardigrado” (= sluggard), which DALYELL
translated with sloth (see note 3). Etymology:
tardus, lat. = slow; gradi, lat. = to walk.
5 Aschersleben is the oldest town of Saxony-
Anhalt (Germany) mentioned already in 753.
6 Quedlinburg is a World Heritage town of
Saxony-Anhalt, district of Harz (Germany).
7 Halle is an urban district on the River Saale in
the south of Saxony-Anhalt (Germany), home of
the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg .
8 Samuel Gottlieb HOFFMANN (also HOFMANN)
(1726-1801) was a mechanic of the University in
Leipzig (Germany) known for his telescopes and
magni ers; he published articles on astronomy.
HOFFMANN’s microscope was placed on the
market in 1772 and offered magni cations of
up to 370 x (GERLACH 2009). In 1789 Hoffman
published a list of the newest optical instruments.
Here he also introduced (again) his Microscopia
composita equipped with all the accessories,
referred to the good assessments, especially by
Göze [see GOEZE 1773a; author‘s note] conclu-
ding „Diese Microscope, sind wegen den vielen
mechanischen Auslagen selten zum Verkauf
fertig, sondern werden auf Pränumeration der
Hälfte des Preises gefertigt, von dem Tage der
Bestellung an, bis nach Verlauf 6 Wochen, kann
jedes Mal ein Stück geliefert werden. Der Preiß
eines solchen Microscops, ist 10 Louisd’or.“
(HOFFMANN 1789, p. 134) [These microscopes are
seldom ready for sale due to their many mechani-
cal constructions, but are manufactured follow-
ing the prepayment of the half of the purchase
price. Six weeks from the day it has been ordered,
one piece can be delivered. The price for such a
microscope is 10 Louisdor.] This was, however,
the price for the basic equipment.
Louisdors were made from gold (22 carat).
One Louisdor weighed 6.7-8.1 g. Thus the ac-
tual material value of a single Louisdor can be
calculated easily.
9 The solar microscope was developed around
1740 and was designed for projecting microscopic
specimens, thus being able to demonstrate them
to an audience. It is a kind of magic lantern il-
luminating the object by sun rays that fall on a
plane mirror placed outside the room for re ect-
ing a beam of sunlight through the tube toward
a condensing lens for converging the beam upon
the object; and from there to a second lens for
projecting an enlarged image of the object at its
focus upon a screen in a dark room. The object to
be magni ed was placed between two glass plates.
10 “Hannoverische Beyträge”; most widely read
journal for of cials, issued from 1763-1850 with
different names. Between 1763 and1790 title
was “Hannoverisches Magazin, worin kleine
Abhandlungen, einzelne Gedanken, Nachrichten,
Vorschläge und Erfahrungen, so die Verbesse-
rung des Nahrungs-Standes, die Land- und
Stadt-Wirthschaft, Handlung, Manufacturen
und Künste, die Physik, die Sittenlehre und an-
genehmen Wissenschaften betreffen, gesamlet
und aufbewahret sind.” [Hanoverian magazine,
in which small essays, individual thoughts, news,
proposals and experiences concerning the im-
provements of standard of sustenance, country
and city economy, trading, manufacture and arts,
the physics, ethics and enjoyable sciences are col-
lected and saved.]
11 GEHRE-HERBENER (2006, S. 58) erroneously
wrote that GOEZE has published the description of
the water bear in the “Hannöverschen Magazin”.
12 Charles BONNET (1720-1793), Genevan lawyer,
naturalist and philosopher; he discovered par-
thenogenesis in aphids. His rst published work
(Traité d’insectologie) appeared in 1745; here, his
various discoveries regarding plant lice (aphids)
About the little water bear 25
Acta Biologica Benrodis 17 (2015)
and “worms” were collected. He studied polyps
(Hydra), respiration caterpillars and butter ies,
the tapeworm, photosynthesis etc. In 1760 he
described a condition now called Charles Bonnet
Syndrome. Due to his failing eyesight he turned
to philosophy.
13 Charles (Carl) DE GEER (1720-1778), Swedish
industrialist and entomologist. His principal
entomological works are the eight volumes of
“Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire des insects”
issued 1752-1778, which deal with life histories,
food and reproduction of 1,466 species and
contains 238 copper plates.
14 Carl (Carolus) LINNAEUS (1707-1778), after
his ennoblement 1761 Carl VON LINNÈ, was a
Swedish botanist. He was the inventor of the
binomial system. The rst edition of his “Sys-
tema Naturae” was published 1738. In Sweden
he became professor of medicine and botany at
the university of Uppsala.
15 Philippe FERMIN (1729-1813), a German-born
physician, went 1754 as a country doctor to
Surinam, came back 1762 and went to Maastricht
(Netherlands) in 1764.
16 Maria Sibylla MERIAN (1647-1717), German-
born artist and naturalist, particularly known by
her major work “Metamorphosis insectorum
Surinamensium” (1705), in which she among
other things described butter ies.
17 Helminthology (ἕλμινς – helmins, gr. = worm):
Study of parasitic worms. GOEZE was a well-
known author in the “Golden Era” of helmin-
thology (18th and early 19th century).
18 Scolex = the structure at the front end of a
tapeworm, bearing suckers and hooks for attach-
ment in the adult.
19 Joseph II (1741-1790); Holy Roman Emperor
(1765-1790) and one of the great Enlightenment
20 Pavia, city in the northern part of Italy (south-
western Lombardy) with one of the oldest
universities of Europe that was supported by
Joseph II, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
(see note 19).
21 William HUNTER (1718-1783), famous Scottish
anatomist and physician, esp. obstetrician.
22 The “Berlinische Gesellschaft Naturforschen-
der Freunde” – from 1785 until now „Gesell-
schaft Naturforschender Freunde zu Berlin“
– was founded in 1773 by the German physician
and naturalist Friedrich Wilhelm MARTIN (1729-
1778); one of the oldest private societies of
natural sciences.
23 “In meinen Erholungsstunden erquicke ich
mich am liebsten durch mikroskopische Betrach-
tungen der unermesslichen Reichthümer der
Natur im Wasser. Die Wasserinsekten, die dem
bloßen Auge entgehen, sind einer der vorzüg-
lichsten Gegenstände meiner Beobachtungen”
(GOEZE 1773 a, p. 361). [In my hours of rest I
preferably refresh myself best by the microscopic
examination of the boundless wealth of nature
in the water. The water insects that escape the
naked eye, are one of the most preferred objects
of my observations.]
24 Heinrich Ulrich Erasmus VON HARDENBERG
(1738-1814), director of the salines in Electoral
Saxony. GOEZE begins his dedication with “An
seine Hochwürden und Hochwohlgeboren
Gnaden, den Freyherrn von Hardenberg…”
[To your Excellency and Noble Grace, Freiherr
von Hardenberg…]. VON HARDENBERG himself
did not hold the title Freiherr (baron) as this
titel was of cially con rmed not until the 19th
century. He was the father of the poet Friedrich
VON HARDENBERG (Novalis), one of the most
important representatives of the German early
25 HOFFMANN, see note 8.
26 Otto Frederick MÜLLER (1730-1784),
Danish naturalist (botanist and zoologist),
studied later almost exclusively microorgan-
isms (diatoms, bacteria, Protozoa worms, etc.)
and classified Infusoria for the first time He
coined the terms bacillum and spirillum. He
was the first to classify micro-organisms,
following the scheme of LINNAEUS and also
contributed to tardigradology by accurately
describing and drawing an eutardigrade from
life published posthumously and commented
briefly by GOEZE (MÜLLER 1785).
27 BONNET obviously has coined the term “Insec-
tologie” already 1744 (see GOEZE 1773 b preface)
and wrote in volume I of his contemplations “J’ai
donné le nom d’Insectologie, à cette Partie de
l’Histoire Naturelle qui a les Insectes pour objet:
celui d’ Entomologie, qui est tout Grec, convenoit
mieux sans doute, & on l’a remarqué; mais sa
barbarie m’a effrayé. Si le Public decide sur ce
point, je me conformerais à sa decision.” [I gave
the name insectology this part of natural history
that deals with insects: Entomology, which is
completely derived from Greek, was undoubt-
edly better as was noticed; but its “barbarity”
scared me. If the public decides on this matter,
I will accept its decision.] (BONNET 1764, Chapter
IX, p. 279)
28 MÜLLER, see note 26
29 GOEZE gives some examples to show that
various infusoria were named by animals for their
looks; catellus, lat. = small dog; lupus, lat. = wolf;
camelus, lat. = camel, lepus, lat. = hare; felis, lat.
= cat; catulus, lat., = puppy.
The complete page references and number
information are: Cercaria catellus (p. 65, no 57),
lupus (p. 67, no 59), Trichoda camelus (p. 80, no.
78), lepus (p. 89, no 92), Vorticella felis (p. 108,
no 115), catulus (p. 108, no 116).
30 Louis JOBLOT (1645-1723), French professor
of mathematics, who observed and recorded as
the rst microbes. In 1718 he presented various
microscopes including modi cations made by
him and observations on microscopic animals
(mainly Protozoa). He was one of the rst to
oppose the theory of spontaneous generation.
31 O.F. MÜLLER used similar words (s. note 32).
32 In the edition of MÜLLER’s work cited under
literature, this paragraph begins on p. 3 (transla-
tor’s note).
[If one wished to explain what can be said
about infusoria and if words as well as the
sharpness of the eyes would be suf cient, one
would nd no end. The human mind can reveal
only very few evidences of the magni cence and
the splendour of the best and greatest majesty;
in most cases he is amazed and falls silent. Some
100 years ago, and because it was time, people
began to approach the world of the invisible
that was a mystery to our ancestors. <This
world> brings out incredible monsters and has
as well miracles in abundance due to the speci c
properties of life, and you can roam through a
remote area (literally: remote world of India),
however, at a lower level of risk, wherever it lies
at the feet, and you do not visit it for avarice You
have access to both by the broad subjugation of
the inhabitants, which the aggressors often pay
with their life, whereas the other simply needs
patience. One is owed to the small needle that
connects the hemispheres of the world (i.e. the
compass needle; translator’s note); the other is
owed to the lens that brings together sun mole-
cules and molecules of infusoria in a single image,
subjects far from each other. What is already big
in view of this distance, what is small? The Ens
(= being, God; translator’s note) thinking that
also allows humanity.]
[Wenn man darlegen würde, was über Infusi-
onstierchen gesagt werden kann, und wenn die
Worte und die Schärfe der Augen ausreichten,
würde man kein Ende nden. Der menschliche
Verstand vermag nur ganz wenige Zeugnisse
der Pracht und des Glanzes der besten und
größten Majestät enthüllen, bei den meisten
staunt er und verstummt. Man begann sich der
Welt des Unsichtbaren, die unseren Vorfahren
verschlossen war, vor ungefähr 100 Jahren,
und weil es an der Zeit war, zu nähern; <diese
Welt> beherbergt aufgrund der besonderen Ei-
genschaften des Lebens (forma et vitae ratione)
ganz unglaubliche Monstren hervor, und hat
gleichermaßen Wunderbares im Über uss, und
man durchschreitet ein entlegenes Land (wört-
lich: den Erdteil Indiens; Anm. d. Übersetzers),
sogar unter geringerer Gefahr, wo nur immer es
vor unseren Füßen liegt, und man es nicht aus
Geldgier besucht. Beide(s) spürt man auf, indem
man die Einwohner weitgehend vernichtet.
Diese <Unterwerfung> bezahlen allerdings die
Angreifer oft mit dem Verlust ihres Lebens, jener
braucht lediglich Geduld. Das eine ist der kleinen
Nadel, welche die Hemisphären des Erdkreises
verbindet (gemeint ist die Kompassnadel; Anm.
d. Übersetzers), das andere der Linse geschuldet,
welche die Sonnenmoleküle und die Infusorien-
moleküle, sehr weit voneinander entfernte Dinge
<also>, unter dasselbe Bild bringt Was ist bei
diesem Abstand schon groß, was ist klein? Das
Ens (= Gott; Anm. d. Übersetzers), was dies
ersinnt, lässt auch Menschliches zu.]
About the little water bear 27
Acta Biologica Benrodis 17 (2015)
33 Common duckweed or lesser duckweed Lemna
minor (Araceae). Later GOEZE took the view that
water bears are more common than assumed
reaching the duckweed purely by chance (see
GOEZE 1784b, and the footnote in MÜLLER 1785).
34 SPALLANZANI, see note 3.
35 GOEZE quotes the German translation of BON-
NETS “Contemplation de la nature” (BONNET
1764) made by TITIUS (1766). This translation was
reprinted in several editions until 1803.The chapter
he refers deals the insects. Probably he used the
second edition (1772) as the pages he quoted do
not t to the issue mentioned above in the rst
(1766) and third edition (1778) that I have seen.
36 Compound microscope, see footnote 8.
37 Shagreen (leather) is a type of rawhide that
has a rough and granular surface with small
indentations formerly made from a horse‘s back
traditionally prepared by embedding plant seeds
in the untreated skin while soft, covering the skin
with a cloth, and trampling them into the skin.
38 Concerning the position this is probably the
muscular pharyngeal bulb.
39 Many Hypsibius species possess pigmented
eyes, but it is improbable that GOEZE has really
seen them.
40 GOEZE is always talking about feet, but he
usually means legs.
41 According to MARCUS (1929) probably a mem-
ber of the genus Hypsibius, as here the secondary
branch of the internal claw (eutardigrades posses
an internal and an external claw per leg, both
with a primary and a secondary branch) often is
very hard to see in living specimens. Therefore,
it might appear three-clawed.
42 These are mainly cells that freely oat in the
body cavity and store food reserves.
43 The freshwater alga Volvox sp.
44 Henry BAKER (1698-1774), English poet
and naturalist, translator of French poets (e.g.
Molière). In 1743 appeared his book “The
Microscope Made Easy”,’ which become very
popular, was reprinted in several editions and
was translated into foreign languages. His
earlier treatise was supplemented in 1753 by
the publication of “Employment for the Mi-
croscope”, which attracted an equal amount
of attention.
45 August Johann RÖSEL VON ROSENHOF (1705-
1759), German miniaturist and engraver;
in uenced by the work of Maria Sibylla ME-
RIAN (see note 9), he became more and more
a naturalist. He collected insects and their
developmental stages. From 1740 he published
the famous “Monatlich erscheinende Insecten-
Belustigung”[Monthly pleasure from insects].
He developed a powerful solar microscope for
his own (u. a. GEUS 2003).
46 MÜLLER, see note 26.
47 LINNÉ, see note 14.
48 GOEZE owned a solar microscope, but used
mainly a compound microscope. Both micro-
scopes came from the workshop of S.G. HOFF-
MANN; s. note 8.
49 At that time 6000 years were the conven-
tional opinion regarding the age of the earth
since creation. This age was assumed to be
accounted for in Genesis, although already
other estimations have been published. The
most “exact” age determination of the earth,
i.e. on 23 October 4004 before Christ, was
published by the Irish Archbishop James
USHER (1581-1656).
50 Behemoth = name of a monster mentioned in
the Hebrew Bible, generally used for (gigantic)
... Thereafter limited historical information can be found in specific monographs (e.g. Cuénot 6 1924;Greven 1980;Ma uc ci1982;Ramazzotti and Maucci 1983;Ki nc hi n1994) and more recently on various websites. Due to general interest, early studies on tardigrades have also been reviewed repeatedly in the literature on anabiosis, 7 in particular detail by Keilin (1959) and less detailed by Wright et al. (1992) and Rebecchi et al. (2007). ...
... In 1775 he published the booklet "Beyträge zur Natur-Geschichte der kleinsten Wasser-Thiere" [Contributions to the natural history of the smallest aquatic animals], primarily for lovers of natural history, which was reprinted in 1781. throughout his life and Goeze 12 was just at the start of his career as a respected zoologist 13 (see Greven 2015), whereas Corti,14 Spallanzani 15 and Müller 16 were trained scientists-(3) that authors probably did not know each other (only Müller cites Spallanzani and Eichhorn) and (4) that both Eichhorn and Müller claimed that they had seen a water bear long before they published their observations (see Greven 2015;unpublished manuscript), it is most likely that tardigrades have been independently discovered several times. However, formally Goeze is the first describer of a tardigrade, probably a Hypsibius species (Goeze 1773; see Fig. 1.2 top left). ...
... In 1775 he published the booklet "Beyträge zur Natur-Geschichte der kleinsten Wasser-Thiere" [Contributions to the natural history of the smallest aquatic animals], primarily for lovers of natural history, which was reprinted in 1781. throughout his life and Goeze 12 was just at the start of his career as a respected zoologist 13 (see Greven 2015), whereas Corti,14 Spallanzani 15 and Müller 16 were trained scientists-(3) that authors probably did not know each other (only Müller cites Spallanzani and Eichhorn) and (4) that both Eichhorn and Müller claimed that they had seen a water bear long before they published their observations (see Greven 2015;unpublished manuscript), it is most likely that tardigrades have been independently discovered several times. However, formally Goeze is the first describer of a tardigrade, probably a Hypsibius species (Goeze 1773; see Fig. 1.2 top left). ...
A survey is presented about the early history of tardigrade research spanning the time from1773, when the first description of a tardigrade was published by Goeze, until 1929, when the most comprehensive monographic approach by E. Marcus, unsurpassed today, was published. Almost from the beginning, two topics dominated “tardigradology”, i.e.phylogeny and systematics as well as cryptobiosis, especially anhydrobiosis, but also other issues (e.g. morphology, development and life history) have followed successfully with ongoing technical and preparatory improvements
A survey is presented about the early history of tardigrade research spanning the time from 1773, when the first description of a tardigrade was published by Goeze, until 1929, when the most comprehensive monographic approach by E. Marcus, unsurpassed today, was published. Almost from the beginning, two topics dominated “tardigradology”, i.e. phylogeny and systematics as well as cryptobiosis, especially anhydrobiosis, but also other issues (e.g. morphology, development and life history) have followed successfully with ongoing technical and preparatory improvements.
Societät zu Leipzig, nebst einer deutlichen Anweisung, wie sich diejenigen zu verhalten haben, die zur Conversation ihrer Augen. Lorgnetten, oder Lünetten brauchen wollen
  • S G Hofmann
HOFMANN, S.G., 1789: Verzeichniß der neuesten Optischen Instrumente welche nach den richtigen Grundsätzen verfertigt werden von Samuel Gottlieb Hofmann, Universitätsoptico und Ehrenmitglied der Oeconom. Societät zu Leipzig, nebst einer deutlichen Anweisung, wie sich diejenigen zu verhalten haben, die zur Conversation ihrer Augen. Lorgnetten, oder Lünetten brauchen wollen.-IntelligenzBlatt des Journals des Luxus und der Moden 10, 132-140. ( receive/jportal_jparticle_00086054)
riveduta e aggiornata).-Memorie dell' Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia Dott
MÜLLEROTT, M., 1959: "Eichhorn, Johann Conrad", in: Neue Deutsche Biographie 4 (1959), S. 380 f. [Onlinefassung].-URL: http:// html MÜLLEROTT, M., 1964: "Goeze, Johann August Ephraim" in: Neue Deutsche Biographie 6 (1964), S. 597 f. [Onlinefassung].URL: ppn116745509.html RAMAZZOTTI, G. & MAUCCI, W. (1983): Il Philum Tardigrada (III edizione riveduta e aggiornata).-Memorie dell' Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia Dott. Marco de Marchi 41, 1-1012.