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

1 thought on “Triops or Tadpole Shrimp in Utah”

  1. 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.


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