Animals that survive Drying/Freezing

I was reading about those little animals (rotifers0 who manage to go into an inaimate state when the water pools then inhabit dry up. A year or two later, when the pools reform (it rains0 these little guys come alive again. my question; can these animals survive indefinately, in a dried out state? When inanimate, is their DNA still functioning? 9some kind of internal clock)? I wonder if mars might have animals like these, hidden underground-is it possible?

Here’s an article that might interest you:

I’ve heard (anecdotally) that there are some kinds of frogs that you can stick in a freezer until they appear to be frozen solid, but when you pull them out and let them defrost they’ll hop away. I’m not sure whether that’s entirely true.

You’re thinking of the common wood frog.
PBS Nova

I opened this thread with the intention of telling my childhood story of freezing a frog and your post seems to confirm the possibility (most people I tell this to don’t believe me, but this is first hand - I actually did this). My plan (I was a young mad scientist) was to cool the frog gently at first in the fridge then place it in a bag in the freezer. Somehow the frog avoided detection by my mom and I pulled it out several days later. I was sure I had failed and the frog was dead, but I placed the frog in the sink and ran some cold water over it. About the time I was going to give up, the frog leaped out of the sink! I chased it down and placed it outside. It seemed to have something wrong with one of its legs, or perhaps it wasn’t fully thawed - I never found out, but it hopped away and I lost track of it.

I believe there are certain types of crabs that can do this as well. I also have a package of “Trilobytes” at home that are supposedly in a state of suspended animation. If you add them to water, and put some food in, they’re supposed to just pop back to life. I haven’t tried this yet, but I suspect it’s something close to seamonkeys, who can do about the same thing.

just my two cents, now where’s my change?

That’s fairly common for small aquatic invertebrates, not just rotifers but tardigrades and nematodes and quite a few other phyla.

Yes, or a least we know they will survive for several centuries so there is no reason why they couldn’t last forever if conditions were suitable.



If Mars had ever had life and if it ever evolved to the level of multicellularity then it’s possible.

My guess is they’d look like this.


There are a number of ephemeral crustaceans that can survive prolonged dehydration in the egg form - sea monkeys are probably the most familiar of these, but a number of other similar organisms also do it.

I believe there are even a few species of fish whose eggs can survive prolonged drying out.

I seem to recall stories about some species of scorpion that can survive being frozen solid. I’ll try to find a cite when I have more time.

Many, probably most, temperate arthropods can survive being frozen. Honeybees, ants, flies, dragonflies and spiders all routinely freeze during cool peridos. I would be astounded if numeorus scoprpion couldnlt withstand the same tretament.

The pertinent point is that none of these creatures can withstand dessication, which is what the thread is about. Not sure how we got sidetracked onto animals that can be frozen. Those are a dime a dozen.

Here’s one that can:
Scroll down to “cryptobiosis”

The Deinococcus Radiodurans bacteria has some pretty good desiccation protection—as found out when it was discovered that those same properties made it highly resistant to ionizing radiation.

Actually they’re the eggs of Notostraca (Triops/Tadpole Shrimp/Shield Shrimp).

CMC fnord!

Yes, and it also one that I mentioned in my very first post.

So you did.

It’s in the thread title.

Frank Poole.

Heh. Not often you get to milk 3001 for a joke, is it?

Yes, such as some kinds of Killifish. My dad breeds certain species that lay their eggs in peat moss, which is then removed from the tank, dried, and put in a plastic ziplock bag. Some of his eggs have lasted (dried and in stasis) for over a year and still hatched, although keeping them dry for a few weeks is more common. In this form, eggs can easily be mailed to other breeders. Just add water!

We do seem to be short on non-microscopic animals that can survive dessication in some form other than eggs or egg-like encysted embryos or something. I don’t suppose this is really surprising, as an adult organism is quite a complex system, but does anyone know - what’s that largest animal that can routinely survive dessication and rehydration?