Subject: Looks like an Alien
Location: Glorieta, New Mexico
June 20, 2016 2:24 pm
Hi! My dad found this strange creature in a freshwater pond. He has no idea what it is, I found something similar on this site called a shield shrimp or triop, but I wanted to send in a picture because this one is a little bit different! Thanks for the help!
This is a very exciting submission for us. You are correct that this is a Shield Shrimp or Triops, though we personally prefer the common name Tadpole Shrimp. We have not had a submission of a Triops since 2012. Sometimes called “Living Fossils,” Triops have developed a very interesting survival tactic due to being found in arid environments. Like Fairy Shrimp and some Annual Killifish (see Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine), the eggs are able to survive desiccation by being preserved in dried mud. When the rains return, the eggs hatch and the Tadpole Shrimp quickly reach maturity, at which time they mate and lay eggs for the next generation. The dried eggs are able to survive many years until the next substantial rains. We believe we once read that the original movie Alien that burst from the man’s chest was constructed of sea food, and it does somewhat resemble this harmless Tadpole Shrimp.