The term “brine shrimp” is the common name for a number of organisms in the Artemia genus, and the oldest fossil of these creatures dates back to the Triassic period - over 200 million years ago!
Scientists have also taken brine shrimp eggs into space to test the impact of radiation on life. In the 1980s on Apollo 16 and 17, eggs were taken on a trip to the moon and back. In 1991, “Forty-four brine shrimp were hatched on the space shuttle Atlantis in April, making them among the first animals ever born in space.” When they returned, only five of them had survived, most likely due to the lack of oxygen and nutrients in their water.
Grow Your Own Shrimp!
Once the eggs have hatched (usually within the first 15-24 hours after being placed in the water), it takes approximately 25-30 days for the shrimp to reach their full adult size. During the growing period, they will go through multiple molting stages in which they develop from an embryo to larva to an adult. The males can be clearly recognised by their graspers, which are modified antennae near the head, while females should be starting to show a egg pouch near the tail. They will be an average size of about 8-10 millimeters. If you keep them in water with a lower concentration of salt, the females can produce free-swimming babies instead of dormant eggs!
If kept at optimal conditions, the adult brine shrimp can live up to four months! You can start this process by purchasing one of the many kit options available right now, such as the original Sea Monkeys, or one of the multiple different Aqua Dragons kits. These kits cost anywhere from $10-$30, and are well worth the price for hatching your own low-maintenance pets!
*Discovery Express Kids does not endorse either brand of commercial brine shrimp, nor are the brands sponsored by us. These are simply one of the many options available on the market right now.
"SCIENCE WATCH; Shrimp Hatch in Space." The New York Times, 14 May 1991. Web. 8 Apr. 2017. <http://www.nytimes.com/1991/05/14/science/science-watch-shrimp-hatch-in-space.html>.
© Hans Hillewaert. “Brine Shrimp: Laboratory Picture”. Released into the public domain under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Uploaded on 4/6/17 from wikimedia.org
Bassett, Joseph. “Elements of Zoology (1884) - Crabs and Insects”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 4/8/17 from flickr.com/internetarchivebookimages
Healy. George. “Cyst Stage of Entamoeba Histolytica”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 4/8/17 from wikimedia.org
Manske, Magnus. “Sea Monkeys in Aquarium”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 4/8/17 from wikimedia.org