Location: South West Victoria, Australia.
August 11, 2011 7:12 pm
Hope things are good with you.
I was wondering what sort of bug this is.
It lives in the slosh and mud in our back paddock during wet winters.
It sort of looks like a minature version of that Alien Face Bug.
Signature: mud bug
Dear Mud Bug,
This is a very exciting letter for us because we were not aware that Triops, also known as Tadpole Shrimp, were found in Australia. Our previously letters have come from Utah and Russia. Here is the entirety of the content from the Angelfire webpage entitled Project Triops Australiensis: “What are Triops? Triops are a unique family of crustaceans which has been present on the earth for around 350million years, making it one of the oldest in the fossil record. Indeed, the oldest species on the planet with currently living specimens belongs to the Triopsidae family. As well as being a very old form of life, Triops have another characteristic that makes them very special. They undergo a reproductive process known as Cryptobiosis. That means that their eggs lay dormant between rainy periods until better circumstances come along. It is this feature that has lead to them being marketed as form of instant life pets that require nothing more than an old glass jar and some pure water.
Once the Triops eggs have been added to water, they begin to develop rapidly into adult organisms. This is because of the very specific niche in the environment which the Triops have evolved to exploit perfectly. The natural habitats of these crustaceans are temporary pools formed by rain in regions where the water cannot collect permanently. In Australia, Africa and North America that means in semi-arid to desert regions. In Europe that means areas where the ponds are, during at least some part of the year, frozen. The only continent where members of Triopsidae are not found is Antarctica.
What’s different about the Australian variety? The Australian species of Triops, known in the scientific community as Triopsidae Australiensis, and colloquially as shield shrimp, differ slightly from their international counterparts. They take on a different colour, ranging from very faint to deep blue, making them very distinct. They also have some slight anatomical differences. Their lifecycle most closely reflects the North American species as opposed to the longer lived European Triops, growing very rapidly and dying after a short time. Although many people have the opportunity to rear the European and North American varieties, the Australian Triops are largely unknown to the instant pet community due to their isolation, and the expensive licenses required to export native Australian flora and fauna.”
One could surmise that since Triops are such an ancient living fossil, and since they are found on all continents except Antarctica, which is most likely due to its inhospitable climate, that they lend credence to theory of the primal continent Pangaea.