posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 03:55 AM
A three inch long predatory fairy shrimp species has been discovered living in the dryed up lake beds of the Idaho desert region. Delicate by name and
appearance the hardy shrimp are believed to survive for years in the lake beds before hatching after rains to live only a few weeks, leaving behind
tiny cyst like offspring.
Dana Quinney and a colleague, Jay Weaver, first noticed the carnivorous shrimp in 1996. It took them nearly 9 years to compare the animal to the
existing species and realize they had something entirely different.
"If you're just a little biologist like me, you're kind of a generalist," she said. "Many species of fairy shrimp look very much alike and it not
only takes an expert but it takes an expert and a good microscope to tell them apart. This one is really, really, really different from all the other
species in the world."
The new species has several spines on its front legs, and each spine is covered with several more, even smaller spines. The belly of the shrimp is
covered with patches of Velcro-like spikes, enabling it to stick to and store up to four smaller fairy shrimp of different species — its prey. The
new species also have a unique long, tapered and forked tail and the males have much longer antennas than other fairy shrimp.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
Out of over three hundred fairy shrimp species world wide only three such species are believed to be the same size as the newly discovered shrimp.
The shrimp have adapted to the hash environment and are believed to have remained undiscovered for so long due to living in brown opaque pools known
The newly discovered fairy shrimp swim upside down and are constantly on the move unless they have consumed smaller fairy shrimp.
[edit on 16-3-2005 by Mayet]