Remember Sea-Monkeys? It is an “instant” pet, toy set that comes with three sachets of powder and a small aquarium. All you have to do is to mix the contents of the sachets in water in the small aquarium and voila! You would have tiny creatures swimming in your aquarium!
These “sea monkeys” are actually tiny, aquatic crustaceans known as Brine shrimps (Artemia sp.). They are marketed as sea monkeys because of their long tails which make them look like monkeys.
An example of a Brine shrimp. Photo source.
Although nicknamed to be sea monkeys and can live in a wide range of salinity (saltiness of the water), they do not exist in the ocean where their predators are plenty, instead preferring higher saline waters (60 to 80ppt) like of saltwater lakes, hence being called Brine shrimp.
Their ability to produce dormant eggs known as cysts is what allows them to be “instant” pets as the cysts laid can be stored long-term in adverse conditions and then be “enticed” to hatch in right conditions. This ability also makes Brine shrimp an important feed in aquaculture as they can be easily sold dry and cultured in farms.
What adorable yet hardy creatures, the Brine shrimps are. I hope the year of the monkey will create a hardier you to tackle lives’ many obstacles!
Some Brine shrimp swimming about under a microscope.