What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: aquatic but
Location: Kendall County Texas
May 30, 2012 8:01 pm
The enclosed image is of a bug(?) found in a stock tank in central Texas. We’ve not seen one of these before.
Can you identify it?
Signature: Claude Hildebrand

Tadpole Shrimp

Hi Claude,
The Tadpole Shrimp or Triops is a primitive crustacean that is typically found in arid areas that have seasonal ponds.  The eggs hatch during the rainy season when the ponds fill with water.  The Tadpole Shrimp grow quickly and lay eggs that are preserved in the mud when the pond dries out.  You can read more about Tadpole Shrimp on the Triops Information Page website.  We also located information that they are found in the Southern High Plains of West Texas in this online research paper entitled Tadpole shrimp structure macroinvertebrate communities in playa lake microcosms for your reading pleasure.  What do you mean by “stock tank”?

Thanks for your prompt response. After looking at it a bit more, I realized that it probably wasn’t an insect, but wasn’t able to find anything like it online.
A “stock tank” is a small water reservoir in a pasture, usually made by excavation of the soil, which holds rain water for the purpose of feeding livestock. They are quite common in this area, which originally was devoted to farming and ranching. The shrimp apparently live in the mud in the bottom of the tank.
As I said, we’ve never seen any of these before (at least not in the last 50 years or so). It is one of many animals, plants, and insects that have arrived here in the last couple of decades. I never expected the flora and fauna to change as much as it has over my lifetime.
I’ll look at the links you provided. It would be interesting to know how they arrived at our tank.
Claude Hildebrand

Thanks for the update Claude.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Texas

7 Responses to Tadpole Shrimp in Texas

  1. Susan J. Hewitt says:

    Hi, city-boy bugman Daniel,

    A stock tank is a large container (often made of galvanized steel) that is used to provide drinking water for animals such as cattle or horses.

    Best wishes,
    Susan J. Hewitt

    • bugman says:

      Thanks for the clarification Susan. Fish are also raised in stock tanks. Now the puzzle is how the Triops got into the stock tank. We wonder perhaps if water is channeled in from a vernal pond. Perhaps the cattle drink from vernal ponds while grazing and got eggs on their faces and then tranferred the eggs to the stock tank when they drank from there later. This is a mystery for us.

  2. Steven Kreitler says:

    Both of those definitions of “stock tank” are true. Texans tend to call any small water reservoir a “tank” (as opposed to say, “pond”). whether dug out, piled up, or made from metal. I encountered these creatures over 40 years ago in Central Texas (near Abilene) when the field behind our house flooded and stayed that way for a few days. Shortly after that, a drainage ditch was dug to keep that from happening, so I’ve not seen them again.

    • Susan says:

      We live just north of San Antonio in Bulverde and have a gazillion of these in our seasonal pond that is on the verge of drying up. Couldn’t figure out what they were until finding your website. Thanks!!

      • Hey, my name is Hannes and I’m a young student from Germany. I happened to come across this page. I have been breeding these creatures for 6 years now. I would be very happy to breed the animals you found to expand my species and protect them. Of course, there would be an expense allowance as well as shipping costs. Contact me at support@weltdertriops.com just by email.
        They would be very supportive of me in my work with triops.
        Thank you very much!

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