Tadpole Shrimp: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell

Tadpole shrimp are fascinating creatures that have captured the attention of scientists and nature enthusiasts alike. These tiny crustaceans, which are not actually related to tadpoles or shrimp, have an ancient lineage dating back millions of years. With over 30 pairs of swimming legs that also function as gills, these living fossils have remained mostly unchanged throughout their long history.

As you delve into the world of tadpole shrimp, you’ll uncover some interesting facts about their unique characteristics and behaviors. For instance, they are specially adapted to live in temporary pools of freshwater, taking advantage of their short life cycle to thrive in these ephemeral environments. Learning about tadpole shrimp will not only give you insight into their fascinating biology but also provide you with a deeper appreciation for the remarkable diversity of life on our planet.

So, sit back, relax, and join us on this journey to explore everything you need to know about tadpole shrimp. With your newfound knowledge, you’ll be well-equipped to share your favorite tidbits with friends and family, shining a light on these lesser-known but equally intriguing inhabitants of our watery world.

What is a Tadpole Shrimp?

A Tadpole Shrimp is a small freshwater crustacean that belongs to the order Notostraca, a subgroup of Branchiopoda. They are often referred to as “living fossils” due to their ancient lineage that can be traced back over 200 million years. These fascinating organisms are sometimes mistaken for tadpoles, hence their name, but they are more closely related to other crustaceans like Triops.

Tadpole shrimps are typically found in temporary freshwater bodies such as vernal pools. They have a unique appearance characterized by a flattened, shield-like carapace that arches over their backs, giving them the appearance of a tadpole 1. The color of their carapace may vary from yellow and green to brown and black.

Some key features of tadpole shrimps include:

  • 35-70 trunk legs, often hidden by the carapace
  • Size ranges from 1 to 5.8 cm in length
  • Two large compound eyes and a third simple eye, which inspired the genus name “Triops,” derived from Latin and Greek words for “three” and “eye.”

Tadpole shrimps are an important part of their ecosystem, serving as a food source for various species and playing a vital role in maintaining the balance of their habitat. They reproduce quickly and thrive in environments with limited resources, making them particularly well-suited for life in temporary freshwater pools.

In summary, tadpole shrimps are unique, ancient crustaceans that can be found in freshwater habitats. Their quick reproduction and adaptable nature make them an important part of their ecosystem, contributing to the overall health and balance of their habitat.

Physical Characteristics

General Structure

Tadpole shrimp, also known as Triops, have three main body parts: the head, thorax, and abdomen. The head is covered by a protective carapace, which is a horseshoe crab-like exoskeleton. Their segmented body consists of numerous limbs and antennae. The thorax has several pairs of legs, while the abdomen has additional appendages.

Unique Features

One standout feature of tadpole shrimp is their three compound eyes situated on their head. They also have a tail-like structure called telson, which bears two hair-like appendages. Some common species include Triops longicaudatus in North America, Triops cancriformis in Europe and Japan, and Lepidurus in Canada’s Alberta province.

Color Variations

Triops come in a range of colors, including shades of brown, orange, and even some lighter hues. It is common to find different color variations within the same species across their various habitats in North America, Europe, the Pacific Islands.

Sexual Characteristics

The fascinating aspect about Triops is that they can be male, female, or even hermaphrodites. This diversity in gender helps them adapt and survive in various environments. Let’s take a look at a comparison table to better illustrate their unique features:

Feature Description
General Structure Head, thorax, and abdomen
Unique Features Three compound eyes, telson
Color Variations Brown, orange, lighter hues
Sexual Traits Male, female, hermaphrodites

To sum it up, tadpole shrimp are fascinating creatures with a unique set of physical characteristics that help them survive and thrive in their environments.

Habitat and Distribution

Natural Habitats

Tadpole shrimp thrive in various aquatic environments, such as lakes, ponds, and temporary pools. A special type of habitat they inhabit are the vernal pools, which are temporary bodies of water that provide essential breeding grounds for these creatures. Due to their adaptability, tadpole shrimp can survive in diverse habitats with varying water conditions.

Geographical Distribution

Tadpole shrimp are widely distributed across different continents, including:

  • North America (Canada, Alaska, and the contiguous United States)
  • Europe
  • Japan
  • Pacific Islands
  • South America
  • Caribbean

In North America, they are commonly found in the Great Lakes region, as well as the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Their presence in such a wide range of environments showcases their adaptability and resilience.

Living in Captivity

If you decide to keep tadpole shrimp in captivity, consider the following factors to ensure their well-being:

  • Water temperature: Maintain a stable water temperature, as extreme fluctuations might harm the shrimp.
  • Tank mates: Avoid placing tadpole shrimp with aggressive or predatory tank mates, as they may become prey.
  • Habitat: Mimic their natural habitat by providing hiding spots and a bottom substrate suitable for burrowing.

Keeping tadpole shrimp in captivity can be a rewarding experience, as long as you pay close attention to their specific needs and requirements. With proper care, you’ll be able to enjoy observing these fascinating creatures in your own home aquarium.

Diet and Feeding Habits

Tadpole shrimp are omnivorous creatures that play an essential role in their ecosystem. Their diet consists of a variety of food sources, including organic debris, small organisms, and insect larvae. Here’s a brief overview of their feeding habits:

  • They are great scavengers, consuming organic debris and dead plants found at the bottom of the water. This behavior helps keep their environment clean and maintains balance in the ecosystem.
  • Tadpole shrimp feed on insect larvae such as mosquito larvae, contributing to the control of mosquito populations.
  • These creatures also consume algae, helping to keep the growth of algae in check, which can be beneficial for the overall health of the pond.

Since their diet covers a wide range of food sources, they adapt well in various environments. Having a better understanding of the tadpole shrimp’s diet can help you appreciate their significance in maintaining aquatic ecosystems.

Reproduction and Development

Life Cycle

Tadpole shrimps are fascinating creatures with a unique life cycle. Their development begins as eggs, which can withstand dry periods by entering a state of dormancy called diapause. When there’s enough water, the eggs hatch into metanauplius larvae. These larvae then go through a series of molts as they develop into adult shrimps.

As they grow, their shield-like structure also gets larger, providing protection to their eyes and other parts of their body. Throughout their life cycle, tadpole shrimps can be considered as a type of zooplankton, floating and swimming in freshwater environments.

Reproductive Habits

Tadpole shrimps reproduce in two ways: breeding and parthenogenesis. Breeding involves the production of fertilized eggs through the mating of males and females. After fertilization, the eggs are then deposited in cysts, which can be carried by the female for a while before being released.

On the other hand, parthenogenesis allows some females to produce offspring without the need for fertilization, resulting in the birth of genetically identical individuals. Due to these reproductive habits, tadpole shrimps can rapidly populate their habitat when favorable conditions arise.

Predation and Survival

Tadpole shrimps have to deal with various predators throughout their life, ranging from fish to birds. To increase their chances of survival, they rely on their unique cyst-producing reproductive strategy, which allows their eggs to survive harsh and unfavorable environmental conditions.

In addition to their cyst-making ability, the shield structure covering their body, particularly around their eyes, helps protect them from predators. By combining these features, tadpole shrimps increase their chances of survival, allowing their population to thrive in diverse freshwater habitats.

Scientific Classification

Tadpole shrimp belong to the Triops genus and are part of the Notostraca order within the Arthropoda phylum. They are classified under the Animalia kingdom and fall within the family Triopsidae. Now, let’s dive into some interesting facts about these fascinating creatures.

Tadpole shrimp are often referred to as living fossils, as they have changed very little in appearance over the course of 2 million years. In fact, they closely resemble species found in the fossil record 1.

Here are some key features of tadpole shrimp in bullet points:

  • Segmented abdomen
  • 30 to 35 pairs of swimming legs that also function as gills
  • Two tail-like appendages
  • Fused eyes
  • Shield-like carapace 2

In terms of size, the longtail tadpole shrimp, for example, is the largest species of tadpole or fairy shrimp found in Montana 3. These crustaceans can grow up to 2.5-3.5 inches (80 millimeters) in length.

Their unique appearance comes from their large carapace, which resembles a shield or the shape of a fat tadpole when swimming. They possess two large compound eyes and a third simple eye, which is why their genus name, “Triops,” is derived from Latin “tri” (three) and Greek “ops” (eye) 2.

As aquatic crustaceans, tadpole shrimp, specifically Triops longicaudatus, have been known to help control pest populations in freshwater ponds and pools. In some cases, they have also been used for conservation and protection efforts 4.

In conclusion, understanding the scientific classification and unique characteristics of tadpole shrimp can help you appreciate their essential role in aquatic ecosystems and their incredible resilience as living fossils in the animal kingdom.

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the tadpole shrimp is quite intriguing. They are known as living fossils because their appearance has barely changed in the last 2 million years. They resemble species found in the fossil record, which makes them a fascinating subject for research.

Tadpole shrimp have adapted well to their environments. They are residents of small, temporary pools called vernal pools that form after heavy rainfall or flash floods. Their eggs are able to survive in a dormant state until the right conditions come around. This unique strategy allows them to withstand harsh conditions and increases their chances of survival.

However, their habitats are facing challenges due to human activities. Water overuse in aquaculture and other industries has negatively affected water availability. This may put their survival at risk, given that their presence is usually limited to specific regions.

To assess their conservation status, the IUCN Red List employs a set of criteria to evaluate the risk of extinction for a species. As of now, tadpole shrimp species may have different conservation statuses depending on their region and population numbers. It is crucial to monitor their presence and work towards preserving their habitats to ensure the continuation of these living fossils.

Here are some notable features of the tadpole shrimp:

  • 30 to 35 pairs of swimming legs functioning as gills
  • Segmented abdomen and two tail-like appendages
  • Fused eyes with two large compound eyes and a third simple eye
  • Reside in small, temporary pools (vernal pools)

Relation with Humans

Tadpole shrimps are fascinating freshwater crustaceans that have a unique relationship with humans. These ancient creatures, often found in temporary water bodies like vernal pools and barrows, have a remarkable ability to survive in various environments, including pool beds and soil.

Their presence can serve as indicators of an ecosystem’s health. For example, when tadpole shrimps thrive in a vernal pool ecosystem, it signifies that other species in the same habitat are also likely to be in good condition. On the other hand, if tadpole shrimps are absent or dwindling in numbers, it could indicate problems in that ecosystem, prompting further investigation by scientists and conservationists.

One interesting aspect of tadpole shrimps is their resilience. They can withstand extreme conditions, thanks to their unique life cycle. The eggs can remain dormant in the soil for years, waiting for favorable conditions to hatch. This ability to survive in challenging environments has garnered attention from researchers who study their biology and adaptations.

On a lighter note, tadpole shrimps have caught the interest of hobbyists who appreciate their unique appearance and intriguing life cycle. Some individuals enjoy keeping tadpole shrimps as pets in specialized aquarium setups or smaller, artificial habitats.

To summarize, tadpole shrimps hold a special place in human interests, be it in scientific research, ecosystem health assessment, or simply as unique pets. Their resilience and ability to adapt to various environments make them a valuable subject to study and appreciate.

Interesting Facts

Tadpole shrimps are fascinating creatures that can be traced back to the time of dinosaurs. They are often referred to as living fossils due to their ancient lineage and resemblance to prehistoric species. One example is the Lepidurus, a type of tadpole shrimp found in vernal pools.

These shrimps are part of the Branchiopoda class, and they are known to thrive in temporary bodies of water. Here are some interesting facts about them:

  • Tadpole shrimps have 30 to 35 pairs of swimming legs which double as gills. This unique feature allows them to breathe and swim efficiently in their environment.
  • Their bodies are covered with a hard carapace, which offers protection and gives them a prehistoric appearance. In fact, their design has remained mostly unchanged throughout millions of years.
  • The scientific name of one species, Triops, stems from the combination of Latin and Greek words meaning “three eyes.” They possess two large compound eyes and a third simple eye for light detection.

It’s impressive that these resilient creatures have survived for so long, even outlasting the dinosaurs. Tadpole shrimps can be found in various locations around the world, but they’re most commonly found in vernal pools – temporary bodies of water that form during heavy rainfall.

In summary, tadpole shrimps are truly captivating organisms deserving of our admiration. They serve as a living testament to the durability and adaptability of life on Earth. So next time you come across a vernal pool, take a moment to appreciate the incredible lifeform that is the tadpole shrimp.


  1. Vernal Pool Tadpole Shrimp – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2

  2. https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=52339 2

  3. https://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ICBRA09010

  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5192490/

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Triops or Tadpole Shrimp in Utah


What is this?
Location: Muley Point, southeastern Utah
December 1, 2011 2:45 pm
We found these swimming in a shallow pool in a big rock on top of Muley Point in Southeastern Utah not far from Monument Valley in mid-October 2011. I don’t know if it is a bug or not but it sure looks like a descendent of the trilobite. The biggest ones were about an inch long. What are they?
Signature: Royce Carlson


Dear Royce,
This is a Triops or Tadpole Shrimp, a primitive crustacean that is considered a living fossil.  Like Fairy Shrimp and Brine Shrimp, the adults are relatively short lived and begin laying eggs as the pools of water they live in begin to dry out.  The eggs are preserved, often for many years, until the area is once again flooded with rain water.  You can read more about Triops on the Triops Information Page

Letter 2 – Tadpole Shrimp in Texas


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.

Letter 3 – Tadpole Shrimp from New Mexico


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!
Signature: Kori

Tadpole Shrimp
Tadpole Shrimp

Hi Kori,
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.

Tadpole Shrimp
Tadpole Shrimp

Letter 4 – Triops in Australia known as Shield Shrimp


mud bug
Location: South West Victoria, Australia.
August 11, 2011 7:12 pm
Hi Bugman,
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.


Letter 5 – Triops: Tadpole Shrimp


Unknown insects in the puddle
I’m from Russia , Ural region, Ekaterinburg city. This summer my daughter discovers paddles along forest road. She finds out those bugs. They swim at the bottom quick enough. What is it? It looks like prehistoric insects. I made digital photo in two projections – view from above, bottom view and merged in one.
Best wishes!

These are not insects but Crustaceans. We believe they are Copepods in the suborder Harpacticoida.

(09/20/2005) Copepods from 9/15
I believe these are actually Triops (not sure of the species). You can buy them in kits to raise (lots of fun! And if you’re good, you can keep the colony going). Very old critter, related to trilobites. They live in vernal pools and the like. My triops (& mosquito pupae)
Janet Sugino Brinnon WA

Thanks for the correction Janet. Here is a link with more information on these prehistoric creatures.

Request for Information
Dear Bugman
Hi from France. My name is Eric and I study triops. That’s why I collect everything on the web concerning this branchiopod. I saw on your website a message coming from Russia with a picture of (unidentified !) species of triops. Do you think that it could be possible to join this person ? Thank you by advance

Letter 6 – Triops or Tadpole Shrimp: Evolution and Creationism is still a hot topic


desert wiggle-womper
in the desert of southern Utah i like to take the kidz out for a hike every now and then. there is a place on top of a messa where there is a lot of petrified wood and indian arrowhead and just really neat things to find and discover. Well any how. there is a place on top of some sandstone clifs where water will gather in various pockets that create a shallow pond of water. there are only 2 places that i have found that the water will stay in for more thain two or so weeks. this little pool right now is dry, so i gathered a jar of dirt and brought it home to put in a bucket of water. 2 dyas later boom!!! these cool little bugs hatched out and about doubled in size every day. the one on my hand is approx. 2 weeks old.
I can give you more ifo on just what i have observed, but cand put my finger on what to call them. i figure they can obviously live in dry sand for many years.
Phil Dunn
Southern Utah

Tadpole Shrimp: Dorsal View
Tadpole Shrimp: Dorsal View

Hi Phil,
We are very excited to get your letter and wonderful photos. Your creatures are Crustaceans known as Triops or Tadpole Shrimp. Triops are a very ancient life form that have developed a unique survival strategy. They often live in areas where there is limited or sporadic rainfall. Much like your home experiment, when water fills a dried up pond with the seasonal rains, the dormant eggs hatch and quickly develop to maturity. Adult Triops then mate and lay eggs that will eventually dry up awaiting the next rain. We have found a Triops Information Page on the internet that indicates the species Triops longicaudatus is found in the Western U.S., Central and South America. Encyclopedia Britannica Online mentions a species Triops cancriformis, but sadly, we have not paid for our Encyclopedia online access so we cannot read the information. We do have our ancient hard copy of Encyclopedia Britannica dating from 1956 that includes some information on the genus Triops under the subject heading of Branchiopoda, a subclass of the Crustaceans that includes other primitive forms like Fairy Shrimp, Clam Shrimp and Water Fleas. Tadpole Shrimp are in the order Notostraca and are characterized by the “broad, shield-shaped carapace covering the fore part of the body.” We feel compelled at this point to bring up the controversial “E” word. We personally believe that due to the nature of the life cycle of the Triops, isolated populations do not share gene pools, potentially giving rise to different species and subspecies that have Evolved independently of one another from distant shared ancestors. In the interest of opposing view points, it is also possible that individual populations of Triops were Created about 7000 years ago.

Tadpole Shrimp: Ventral View
Tadpole Shrimp: Ventral View

Comment from a sensitive reader
January 28, 2010
Triops – ” In the interest of opposing view points, it is also possible that individual populations of Triops were Created about 7000 years ago.” OOOPS! Seems that I have mistaken “What’s That Bug,” for a scientific web site posting real and reliable information and not ancient mythology. Thanks for clearing that up. If that statement isn’t sarcasm I would like to see your empirical, testable evidence for separate creations about 7000 years ago. I have considered donating but I never donate to creation lies.

Dear Disappointed,
It always leaves us greatly troubled when we hear that we have disappointed a loyal reader, especially one who has had to delve deep into our archives to single out a single posting or comment that would justify a boycott.  We have been following the story about the parent from the Menifee Union School District in Riverside County, California that complained about the Merriam Webster College Dictionary containing a definition for oral sex and had the dictionary pulled from the fourth and fifth grade classrooms.  Thankfully, the school district came to its senses and returned the dictionary to the classroom.  You may read the story in the LA Times.  We also need to clarify that we are not a scientific website, though we have a deep love and respect for science.  Alas, we are artists with no scientific credentials, and we do enjoy pushing buttons with some of our responses, though we must say that those we offend generally tend toward the conservative end of the spectrum.  We would like to request that you read our Mating Slugs response and subsequent controversy and judge for yourself on the subject of sarcasm.

Dear WTB,  Daniel Marlos,
Thank you for your response and the link to the mating slugs.  That post did answer my questions and has put me back in good relations with WTB.  I live in the reddest, functionally ignorant, part of the bible belt where the battle to keep creationists out of the schools is a daily concern.  It’s a serious ongoing battle here and has become tedious over time.  I hope that you will forgive my jumping to conclusions about your message and I will certainly continue to enjoy the art, sarcasm, humor, and good science found in WTB !  . . . and maybe even reconsider that donation.
Thank you,
Much Less Disappointed

Dear Much Less Disappointed,
While we are comforted to find out we are once again in your good graces, we are a bit troubled by the contempt you have worded in your recent response.  Perhaps we are a bit more sensitive because we watched the award winning film Crash last night, a film that shined a light on racial intolerance, profiling and hatred in our own beloved city of Los Angeles, or perhaps it is because we teach at Los Angeles City College where we celebrate diversity and difference, but we can’t help but wonder why you would ever try to exclude anyone from a school.  While our website is primarily concerned with the identification of insects and their appreciation, we hope that we can educate the public about tolerance of the lower beasts, but at the same time, we hope that the tolerance we foster is broader, and includes people with whose opinions and life styles we might disagree.  We also strongly support the separation of church and state, but that is sometimes difficult in a country that was founded due in a large part to religious persecution in the old world.

Dear WTB,  Daniel Marlos,
I believe we are much closer in our positions than you might think.  This is a reason I dislike correspondence by email, it just doesn’t convey the full intent of the message.  The more people in school the better as far as I’m concerned, esp. Creationists.  Please read as Creationism where I wrote Creationists in my earlier post.  Diversity is a good thing that gives us new ideas and experiences.  Freedom of speech, ideas, and expression allows a sort of natural selection to occur where the fittest survive and ideas that work replace those that don’t.  In the way you mention tolerance, it is an issue that we are very closely aligned on and I applauded you in that area on your being one of the few persons that I have ever seen taking a stance on this issue that is also important to myself.  I recently spent ten years living in L.A. and I think that the general tolerance and diversity that I became used to in that area have left me with a short temper for those that fight those ideas it in the mid-west.  Can we be intolerant of intolerance?   Rest assured that noone is being excluded from any schools that I know of, only ideas that are contrary to learning and dogmas that stifle the imagination and bind man to the mistakes of his past.  ” . . . we hope that the tolerance we foster is broader, and includes people with whose opinions and life styles we might disagree.”  as do I, my intent is only to prevent those various opinions from being made law and forced on anyone who does not want them esp. when they have a history of being unworkable.
Thank you,

Dear MLD,
Thanks for the clarification on the belief of Creationism, as opposed to the believer, a Creationist, with regards to your previous letter.  We do feel that beliefs that are not backed by solid quantifiable data, regardless of the number of believers, should NOT be taught in public schools.

Dear WTB,  Daniel Marlos,
I think I know what you mean here and I’m hoping that it’s a typo.  Something like my having used a ‘ist’ instead of an ‘ism.’  “should be taught in public schools.”   I’m hoping that you meant, ‘should NOT.’
… Thank you,

Wow, thanks for catching that error.  We reworded the beginning of the sentence and wound up needing a double negative.

Dear WTB,  Daniel Marlos,
After starting off disappointed I can now say that I have truly enjoyed our correspondence and find WTB an enjoyable as well as informative site.  I only wish that we could have spent some of the time on our mutually favored subject, entomology.  Seeing that I do spend a bit of time in L.A. perhaps sometime we can.  Thank you for taking the time to explain your position and hearing mine.

Ed Note:  For more news on the controversy brewing in our schools, see http://www.oklascience.org/, http://www.aibs.org/mailing-lists/the_aibs-ncse_evolution_list_server.html, and http://www.oklascience.org/OESE_membership_form.pdf
Dear WTB,  Daniel Marlos,
On the odd chance that you are interested in this subject I am forwarding a local news letter to which you can subscribe if you want and see what the conterversy is all about.  It costs nothing to recieve the news letter.
To subscribe go to [ okevol-on@okevol.talklist.com ]. When your email program starts up, enter subscribe in the body of the message, then send the email.


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

17 thoughts on “Tadpole Shrimp: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell”

  1. Hi there. I was just spending some serious time researching brine shrimp species since one of mine just died, and he was one of two of the most unique. My girlfriend gave me a basic set of sea monkeys from her work for my birthday and they eventually grew to average size, but after 2 were swimming around, I noticed 2 new ones were going nuts eating everything in sight. Actually, it seemed they were mostly sifting through the debris in the tank. Anyways, I am amazed to know I have one dead and one live ancient life form, they are truly beautiful and fascinating. I have some eggs left over from the box, and before I use them I was wondering if there is a way I can breed my ancient triops? The idea that they will simply live and die in my room is deppressing, I want to introduce them to a larger tank and breed them. Any suggestions? Thanks

    Daniel Pol Diaz

    • Hi Daniel,
      Brine Shrimp are not the same as Triops. Perhaps one of our readers will be able to advise you on breeding Brine Shrimp.

  2. 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

    • 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.

  3. I have identified this as a lepriduris, a close relative of triops but instead live a different lifestyle and are much much more rare

  4. 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.

    • 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!!

  5. Aren’t they amazing? They are getting scarce, but a good place to see them would be in slickrock potholes. Also lots of other creatures. Probably the desert version of tidepools.

  6. I also found these (Tadpole Shrimp) this weekend. Never have I seen them before. I found them upon a mountain top adjacent to the Acoma Pueblo. Been there many times over the years, never seen these little guys before.


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