March 16, 2005Idaho biologists have discovered a new
species of fairy shrimp. But don't be fooled by the name. This fairy
shrimp species is the "biggest, baddest, thuggy-est of them all,"
said Dana Quinney, an Idaho National Guard biologist who announced
the find yesterday.
The 3-inch (7.6-centimeter) species is among the biggest of the approximately 300 known fairy shrimp species. But size isn't everything. The shrimp's feathery-looking legs are studded with spineseven the spines have spines, Quinney says. The voracious feeder is known to clutch several smaller shrimp to its abdomen, just in case its food supply runs low.
Dry spells are perhaps the species's biggest threat. The desert lakes where the shrimp live come and go with the weather. A few weeks of mating, eating, and birthing are about all any of these creatures can expect. Buried in baked summer soil or frozen winter earth, the offspring can survive for years before hatching.
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