A member of the order Notostraca (also referred to as notostracans), the Shield Shrimp (Triops australiensis) are small crustaceans in the class Branchiopoda. Also commonly called Triops, tadpole shrimp or shield shrimp, these strange looking creatures have not changed their appearance since the Triassic period, over 220 million years ago.
These shield shrimp belong to a group of crustaceans that are adapted to the arid outback conditions and found living in ephemeral pools, claypans and temporary waterholes. The eggs of the Shield Shrimp can survive long periods without rain, in arid, drought conditions, being blown around by wind, just waiting for the next big rains. Once rain falls, the egg hatches and the shield shrimp grow quickly, feeding off rotting vegetation and other detritus. After the water has evaporated, the Shield Shrimps die, leaving behind just their eggs, waiting for the next cycle. Shield shrimps have even been found on the summit of Uluru.
The images here, were taken at the Ilparpa Claypans after a heavy period of rain in the region.
- Scientific classification
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Crustacea
- Class: Branchiopoda
- Order: Notostraca
- Family: Triopsidae
- Genus: Triops
- Species: T. australiensis
- Binomial name: Triops australiensis
Footnote & References
- A touch of light: shield shrimps, by Mike Gillam, 25 March 2020, Alice Springs News, Issue 22 Volume 25, https://alicespringsnews.com.au/2020/03/25/a-touch-of-light-shield-shrimps/
Northern TerritoryCentral Australia Aileron Alice Springs Binns Track Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve Ernest Giles Road Finke Gorge National Park Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve Hermannsburg Historic Precinct Ilparpa Claypans Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve MacDonnell Ranges Owen Springs Reserve Red Centre Way Drive Standley Chasm Tnorala (Gosse Bluff) Conservation Reserve Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Watarrka National Park & Kings Canyon Wurre / Rainbow Valley