Wet weather across Central Australia has brought about the hatchings of the most strange looking and distinctive of all desert crustaceans.
Wet weather across Central Australia has brought about the hatchings of the most strange looking and distinctive of all desert crustaceans.

Bizarre desert shrimp appear after long hibernation

WITH rain comes life as residents of Alice Springs discovered recently.

Recent wet weather across Central Australia has brought about the hatchings of the most strange looking and distinctive of all desert crustaceans after years of hibernation.

The odd creature is a shield shrimp, and occur over much of inland Australia.

Former MAGNT curator of insects, Graeme Brown, said the desert comes to life after rain.

"It's easier to move through the soil when it's wetter … things grow and there's plenty for them to eat," Mr Brown said.

According to the Queensland Museum Shield Shrimp can be found teeming in the temporary pools and water filled clay pans.

"They belong to a group of crustaceans called "branchiopods", which literally means that they possess gill feet: leaf-like, lobed feet, each bearing a gill plate to enable them to breathe," the website reads.

"The shield is a carapace that protects the head and frontal portion of the multi-segmented body.

"Females carry their eggs under the body but otherwise the sexes are alike. The eggs are highly resistant to drying out, and they can survive for many years in the desert clay before hatching."

Adult shrimp reach about 90mm in body length.

The creatures then grow quickly, and can reach one centimetre within 24 hours, after hatching from an egg not much bigger than a grain of sand.

Parks and Wildlife suggest interested people will be able to find shield shrimp in Owen Springs Reserve, Finke Gorge National Park and at Napwerte/Ewaninga Rock Carvings Conservation Reserve in Central Australia.

 


 

    

 

Originally published as Bizarre desert shrimp appear after long hibernation



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