It’s Time to Look for Fairy Shrimp

Vernal pool in late winter (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

27 February 2024

Yes, it’s still February but this winter has been so warm that it’s already time to look for shrimp in the woods.

Last year Adam Haritan at Learn Your Land taught us about fairy shrimp in vernal pools. If you missed his 7-minute video, view it right now to find out what these tiny creatures look like and where to find them.

video embedded from Adam Haritan’s Learn Your Land

Amazingly there are 313 species of fairy shrimp (Ansotraca) around the world. Some live in brine water, some live in freshwater. The Eubranchipus genus which Adam mentioned contains 16 species including this female in Poland. You can see the eggs inside her at the root of her tail.

Fairy shrimp, female, Eubranchipus genus in Poland (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Are you ready to go look for fairy shrimp? Find an isolated ephemeral pool in the woods and look for tiny movement in the water. Here’s a photo to set your size expectations. There’s one at the tip of the fingernail.

Fairy shrimp in Oregon (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Look for vernal pools in the days ahead. In addition to fairy shrimp you’ll find wood frogs and spring peepers. Don’t delay. The end of March may be too late.

(credits and links are in the captions)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *