a fairy shrimp's stalked red eyes peered up at me from its home in a vernal pool...
Here is a close-up photo of a fairy shrimp. This is a female, as you can see by the brood sac full of eggs and her lack of the extra long clasping antennae the males possess (see the other photos).
In this next video, see for yourself the mesmerizing motion of the fairy shrimp's paddle-like swimming appendages.
In this next video of the fairy shrimp, I slowed down the video part way through in order to show the rhythm, or motion, of the the beating gill-feet.
Notice the translucent fringes on the gill-feet in these next photos.
When I showed the fairy shrimps to my boys, they were enthralled. The boys called the fairy shrimp, "THINGS", and said, "Whaaaat?!? Those THINGS live in Pennsylvania?" My boys also discussed how they think these creatures look more like something that they would expect to see in an Amazon jungle. I have taken the boys to vernal pools before, but because of all the other interesting things, failed to point out the fairy shrimps. Somehow I missed showing them what may be the "crown jewel" of the vernal pool.
When I was young I could go way out in the woods to Grandpa's frog pond. Many years later I still enjoy visiting any vernal pool because of all the amazing things that transpire there before the summers heat and the thirsty trees dry up the pool.
Here's a photo of the vernal pool where I recently took the photos of these fairy shrimp.
May I suggest visiting your local vernal pool before the little place dries up and these unusual-looking, ephemeral creatures fade into oblivion for another year...