The Tardigrade is the tentative name of a large space creature discovered by the USS Glenn in 2256.
The tardigrade shares similar traits to the eponymous microscopic animals from Earth, and might be considered a giant relative of them. It feeds on the spores of the spacefaring fungus Prototaxites stellaviatori, whose mycelial network extends in and out of subspace and permeates the very fabric of the universe. The tardigrade seems to possess a symbiotic relationship with the spores, which allows it to use this mycelial network to teleport anywhere in space. Its other physical traits are also impressive, as it is capable of ripping through metal with its bare claws and its skin is immune to phaser fire. Like Earth tardigrades, it is also capable of surviving unharmed in space vacuum, and under intense stress of the teleporting can enter a state of extreme cryptobiosis to survive.
This species' genetic code seems to be based on DNA, just like Earth animals. Its brain possesses a frontal lobe and is notably more complex than that of regular tardigrades, as it has been speculated that this species might possess sapience. Additionally, it has a natural aversion to bright lights.
- Star Trek: Discovery - "Context Is for Kings"
- Star Trek: Discovery - "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry"