Ilparpa Claypans FaunaClam Shrimp Desert Trilling Frog (Neobatrachus sudellae) Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides) Shield Shrimp (Triops australiensis) Toadhopper (Buforania crassa)

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.

Shield Shrimp (Triops australiensis), Ilparpa Claypans
Shield Shrimp (Triops australiensis), Ilparpa Claypans

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.

More information can be found in our Fauna section about the Shield Shrimp.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Crustacea
  • Class: Branchiopoda
  • Order: Notostraca
  • Family: Triopsidae
  • Genus: Triops
  • Species: T. australiensis
  • Binomial name: Triops australiensis
Shield Shrimp (Triops australiensis), Ilparpa Claypans
Shield Shrimp (Triops australiensis), Ilparpa Claypans

Footnote & References

  1. 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/

Ilparpa Claypans FaunaClam Shrimp Desert Trilling Frog (Neobatrachus sudellae) Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides) Shield Shrimp (Triops australiensis) Toadhopper (Buforania crassa)

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