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NFC: Fairy Shrimp

Thom DeWitt wrote:
> First, I suppose they could be fairy shrimp, but the description of 
> activity under the ice makes me think they must be isopods.  Tony's 
> memory might settle this issue.  Tony, were the animals somewhat 
> flattened and did they spend most of their time in your aquaria on 
> the bottom?  If so they are isopods.  If they were not flattened and 
> swam regularly in the water column, they were fairy shrimp.  For that 
> size (1") I can't imagine they were anything else.
> Second, isopods do very well in temporary creeks and ponds, 
> especially in disturbed sites, such as along railroad tracks.  They 
> do not produce resting eggs like fairy shrimp, daphnia, and brine 
> shrimp.  Rather, they burrow and are apparently dessication 
> resistant.  Note that the majority of isopod species are terrestrial. 
> Sowpugs, pillbugs, and the like are terrestrial isopods.
> Hope this helps!
> Thom
Well, armed with the terms "isopod" and "fairy shrimp," I did a little
snooping on the internet and determined that what I had found in that
pond must be one of the many kinds of fairy shrimp. They looked
basically just like giant brine shrimp, were pale tan in color and swam
throughout the water column of my aquarium (before being devoured, of

According to some of the web sites I found on the subject, fairy shrimp
can be active year-round, may only appear every few years or be found
for brief periods of time when their habitat fills with water. Their
eggs can go dry for up to 20 years and still hatch. I tend to take any
info gleaned from the internet with a grain of salt, but I have a
feeling the info I found is more or less on the money. My thanks to
those of you who helped me out on this one!