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The body cavity consists of a haemocoel, but the only place where a true coelom can be found is around the gonad.
No respiratory organs are found, with gas exchange able to occur across the entirety of the body.
Growth to the adult size therefore occurs by enlargement of the individual cells (hypertrophy), rather than by cell division. Most tardigrades are phytophagous (plant eaters) or bacteriophagous (bacteria eaters), but some are carnivorous to the extent of eating other smaller species of tardigrades (e.g., Milnesium tardigradum).
Tardigrades share morphological characteristics with many species that differ largely by class.
The mouth opens into a triradiate, muscular, sucking pharynx.
The stylets are lost when the animal molts, and a new pair is secreted from a pair of glands that lie on either side of the mouth.
Mating occurs during the molt with the eggs being laid inside the shed cuticle of the female and then covered with sperm.
The intestine opens, via a short rectum, to an anus located at the terminal end of the body.
The cuticle contains chitin and protein and is moulted periodically.