Finke Gorge National Park

Finke Gorge NP | Boggy Hole | Palm Valley | Fauna | Flora

The tiny Clam Shrimp are often overlooked when the larger shield shrimp appear in the same empheral bodies of water in the arid desert regions of Australia. These small crustaceans are also in the same subphylum Crustacea and class Branchiopoda as the shield shrimp.

Australia has at least eight genera of these fauna, including the genus Eulimnadia that has 15 species found inhabiting temporary pools across the Australian continent, plus about 10 undescribed species.1, 2

A variety of species of these crustaceans from the class Branchiopoda are found throughout the arid desert region of Australia, appearing where ephemeral pools of water occur. Even Uluru is known to have species that include the fairy or brine shrimp (Anostraca), the shield shrimp (Notostraca) and the clam shrimp (Conchostraca).

The term Branchiopoda means ‘gill foot’ and refers to the structures on the limbs of the animal, through which they breathe. The class Branchiopods are a group of fauna that can live in temporary bodies of water, such as areas with low rainfall. The eggs of this group of fauna can survive periods of drought, with the eggs laying dormant until the next rainfall. In the presence of water, the eggs of the branchiopods will hatch, growing rapidly, that can often result in a population explosions, allowing more eggs to be produced before the water dries up.3


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Crustacea
  • Class: Branchiopoda
  • Order: Spinicaudata
  • Family: Limnadiidae
  • Genus: Eulimnadia

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Crustacea
  • Class: Branchiopoda
  • Subclass: Phyllopoda
  • Order:
    — Cyclestherida
    — Laevicaudata
    — Spinicaudata

Footnote & References

  1. Little crustaceans of desert pools, by Professor Brian Timms, 2 February 2016, Australian Museum, https://australian.museum/blog-archive/amri-news/little-crustaceans-of-desert-pools/
  2. A partial revision of the Australian Eulimnadia Packard, 1874 (Branchiopoda: Spinicaudata: Limnadiidae), by Brian V Timms, 2016, Vol 4066, No 4, https://www.biotaxa.org/Zootaxa/article/view/zootaxa.4066.4.1
  3. Shrimps from Uluru, Australian Museum, 2 April 2019, https://australian.museum/learn/animals/crustaceans/shrimps-from-uluru/
  4. Brian’s Branchiopods – 24 June 2014, Alice Springs Field Naturalist Club Newsletter, September 2014, http://alicefieldnaturalists.org.au/14_09.pdf