Fairy Shrimp

31FairyShrimp-caseygirard

About Them: These are maybe the cutest crustaceans in the world, they are what are often called sea monkeys. Of course they don’t come from the sea. They are a species of Fairy Shrimp, we are focusing on the ones that live in California, that are super tiny, swim upside down and are only able to be seen in the wild during the winter months when yearly rains create vernal pools. These shrimp thrive in vernal pools because no fish are able to survive in them as they go dry for part of the year. While they aren’t consumed by fish many other species do rely on them for food, amphibians, migrating birds, insects, and other crustaceans.

Their plight: These shrimp only exist in vernal pools which are disappearing habitat across California and Oregon, 75% are gone from California and 90% from Oregon. They have been removed through development of urbanization and agriculture. They have also been compromised by run off and non-native plants invading the habitat.

What we should consider: Vernal pools are incredibly unique habitats. They exist in a space that for large portions of the year is basically dormant. The grasses and flowers dry and the animals that frequent them during the rainy season leave behind their eggs or seek burrows until the party begins when the rains bring back nourishment for life. While large portions of the land they used to exist upon have changed the pools that are still there flourish, life is still persisting. We needn’t lose hope, we simply need to adjust our encroachments to ensure safe space for these habitats.

What is being done: After being put on the endangered species list in 1994 a recovery plan was developed. This includes research around all species involved in vernal pools that keep them a healthy ecosystem.

How to help: Be very careful about what you put down your drain. Find ways to use less water. Recycle and compost everything you can. Aid in the planting of native plants either in your own yard or with community projects.

Continue bringing awareness. Call into state senators when legislation is being passed that could affect the continued support of policy that protects wildlife, land, and waterways. Support locally.

Support can be:

  • donating to science groups
  • helping to ensure funding to the organizations that creating breeding programs
  • being a citizen scientist through
    • land restoration projects
    • trash clean ups
    • species counts
    • bio blitzes
  • getting people you know excited about how incredible our planet’s biodiversity is.

Joining your local Audubon Society or other local conservation group is a great first step into finding activities and ways to become a citizen scientist and environmental advocate.

https://www.fws.gov/sacramento/es_kids/Vernal-Pool-Fairy-Shrimp/Documents/What_You_Can_Do.pdf

Further Reading, my sources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTHA7grKwgs

http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-fairview-fairy-shrimp-20170324-story.html

https://defendersblog.org/2011/07/cant-live-without-em-vernal-pool-fairy-shrimp/

https://www.desertusa.com/fish/fairy-shrimp.html

https://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/articles.cfm?id=149489448

https://courses.cit.cornell.edu/icb344/abstracts/vernal-pool-fairy-shrimp.htm

https://www.sacsplash.org/critter/fairy-shrimp

https://www.fws.gov/sacramento/es_kids/Vernal-Pool-Fairy-Shrimp/

https://vernalpools.ucmerced.edu/ecosystem/reserve-fairy-shrimp

https://www.inaturalist.org/check_lists/301468-California-Fairy-Shrimp

http://fish-notes.blogspot.com/2011/07/another-potential-threat-to-native.html

[This is a blog of my opinions. I speak for myself. I am a one person team and if I have misinterpreted a fact or made an error please feel free to get in touch to correct me. I will make edits and updates to post. I would appreciate corrections to be polite. I will not engage in hate.]


Thank you for following along on this project! This marks the last species for the month of Inktober. Although, I have had such a wonderful time I believe I will find a workable schedule to continue bringing focus to other endangered animals. It will be at least a week before I settle on a plan as this undertaking was more than I intended and need to sort out some balances with other projects I also do. Again thank you for reading!

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