Tardigrades are tough creatures which can survive extreme heat, cold, pressure, radiation etc and that's why they are appearing in Sci-Fi works these days. Here are few examples:

  • Star Trek: Discovery (2017) made Tardigrades famous.

  • In Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018), Hank Pym encountered Tardigrades in the Quantum realm. And, in the mid-credit scene, Hank Pym or his wife warned Scott Lang about Tardigrades ("Stay away from Tardigrade Fields. They look cute, but they will eat you.").

  • When the Tardigrades came... (2015) is the first instance I can find.

Which Sci-Fi work first showed Tardigrades?

  • 4
    Wikipedia gives a lower bound of 1773 (before that, the species had not yet been described) and an upper bound of 2014 (see the "in popular culture" section - apparently someone made a sci-fi video game about them).
    – Kevin
    Oct 11, 2018 at 2:07
  • 1
    The sci-fi video game maker is suing Star Trek Discovery, actually, for tardigrade story line and character likeness: trekzone.org/1701/201808232505 Oct 26, 2018 at 19:11
  • 1
    @DarthLocke Haha.. Seriously? I doubt that they have secured copyright of tardigrade. This is definitely publicity stunt, nothing else.
    – user931
    Oct 28, 2018 at 5:03
  • @NewtScamander I'm not saying they will be successful, because I think there are a lot of other pop cultural influences in Discovery too (Hannibal, Fringe, Game of Thrones, Biblical Allegory) and you're probably right about the copyright, but I can't deny that the character looks/roles are rather similar... Oct 28, 2018 at 13:00

2 Answers 2


The Search For WondLa has Tardigrades in it. It was published in 2010.


I read a short story called "The Tardigrotifer" in a compilation. It seems to be this one: https://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?1367547. I read it in the 80's, and that site says 1978 publication date.

It's about a tardigrade crossed with a rotifer, and from what I remember it had the tardigrade's body and the rotifer's feeding tentacles. It was also gigantic, about the size of a hippo, so might not be exactly what you are looking for.

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