I am going to be going to California in a few days to teach a fairy shrimp identification class. I will be giving biologists information on how to tell the 27 species apart. Twenty five are know for the state and 2 are most likely in the Colorado desert.
Fairy Shrimp are a small fresh water crustacean that lives in temporary pools or salt plyas. The animals over last the dry period in a cyst and then hatch out when the rain comes and grow fairly fast. Then reproduce and die as the pool dries up.
They are very interesting animals and are very hardy. They are beautiful to watch swimming in the pools. They move like you might think a fairy would fly except of course these are swimming. That is how they got their name.
The largest is Branchinecta gigas who grows to as much as six inches in length. Mostly they are found about 11/2 to 2 inches maybe some at three but to get six inch long animals is a rare thing indeed. The only person I know who has some that long got them from Middle Alkali Lake in California.
The most common species is Branchinecta lindahli who comes from all over California and many other states.
The reason for my going to California is that this is the state with the most species and several of them are on the Endangered Species List.
I enjoy going and doing the classes and meeting the biologists. I have made several wonderful friends during the years.
Look these animals up on the internet and see what you think. They are quite interesting.