After over a month of happily swimming around his little tank—and eating all his fellow tankmates in the process—our lone surviving Aquasaur has finally shuffled off this mortal coil to the great vernal pool in the sky. He had a pretty good run, I guess. Most triops have a lifespan of between 14 and 50 days, so our guy was pretty much smack in the middle. Some Methuselahs of the triops world have been known to kick around for up to 90 days or so, but this one wasn't one of them. Regardless, they're not exactly the pets for those who get overly attached. They are, however, ideal for those who are afraid of long-term pet committment.
When last we checked in our formerly dehydrated Devonian friends, the Aquasaurs, a large number of them were swimming merrily around their small plastic tank. They were all either larvae—almost invisible to the naked eye—or babies back then, in what was to be in hindsight a better time. You can see (barely) three of the baby aquasaurs in the photo to the left. OK, it's an extremely craptacular photo, but the lighting and reflections from the tank make focusing and metering hard. And I guess a good macro lenscontinue reading »
Today I got the call: "Daddy! There are all kinds of little baby Aquasaurs swimming around in the tank!" (In case you don't know, Aquasaurs are a kind of rehydratable insta-pet kind of prehistoric tadpole shrimp critters that you can raise as a science project. Like Sea Monkeys, but bigger and scarier and cruising the Earth since the Devonian period 350 million years ago. My son got some for Christmas. Get the scoop in my previous Aquasaur post here.)
We now have a small plastic tank in our living room that, if everything goes according to plan, will soon be be home to some amazing living fossils: Aquasaurs! What are Aquasaurs? They're the commerical name for a critter known as a Triops or tadpole shrimp (or Triops longicaudatus, if you want to get all scientific about things). Apparently they've been around since the Devonian period—about 350 million years ago—and can be found in vernal pools and seasonal ponds throughout North America. They look a little like miniature horseshoe crabs, and have three eyes, hence the Triops name.