Friday, April 23, 2010

Fairy Shrimp

It took a few days to identify, but I pulled a neat creature out of some pond water across the road last weekend. It turned out to be a Fairy Shrimp which I'd never seen before. A crustacean with some interesting reproductive habits. Aren't they all interesting?

The eggs have to dry out and cab lay dormant for several years and then hatch thirty hours after a rain. They're really well suited to arid conditions where water is only available seasonally if at all. Cool beans.

Those eggs will remain dormant if the wet and dry cycles aren't long enough for reproduction to take place. I wish I was half as well adapted to the evolutionary paces. Extreme temperatures don't seem to slow them up much either.

Laura Reeves provided me with an initial identification. She works with the Manitoba Tall Grass Prairie preserve here in Gardenton.

After being stumped I submitted more than one request for identification and got a note back this morning from Daniel Marlos at I see he's added an entry to cover this cool little critter. I've used this sites' resources a few times. Curiosity challenged... not. Given the depth of the site I am pumped to have a submission posted there. Simple minds, simple pleasures.

The youtube entry I made is a very short eight second clip that shows quite well how the animals move in the water. I'm in love with the light and setting of the clip too, but I'm so easily entertained in the spring.

Fairy shrimp - out on a paper towel


Fairy shrimp - poor shot from the top


Fairy shrimp - poor shot in the bucket


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