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article imageHeavy desert rain brings millions of shrimps back to life

By Kesavan Unnikrishnan     Jan 15, 2017 in Environment
Millions of mysterious prehistoric tiny shrimp, lying dormant in the desert for many years, hatch in Central Australian desert after record-breaking rain and flash flooding.
Triops australiensis, sometimes referred to as a shield shrimp, are considered living fossils, having not changed significantly in outward form in the last 250 million years. The species is the most strange looking and distinctive of all desert crustaceans, and occur over much of inland Australia.
Millions of shield shrimp have been re-hydrated by unprecedented rains in Central Australian desert. Sudden cropping up of crustaceans in temporary pools and water-filled clay pans follows wild weather that lashed the region over Christmas and forced the closure of Uluru.
Expert Michael Barritt told ABC Radio Darwin that the alien looking creatures not a true shrimp.
They can turn up in the absolute millions upon millions. Forget about your average egg. These are eggs that can dry out and get blown by the wind. They deal with all the kinds of extreme temperatures that inland Australia gets, including high temperatures and low temperatures at night in wintertime. They want to be able to have their eggs back into the drying surface before the waterhole dries out.
Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife, responsible for the care, control and management of 87 parks and reserves throughout the Northern Australia wrote in its Facebook page.
The shrimp are well adapted to desert conditions as their eggs will remain dormant for years until there is significant rain, which triggers a population explosion.Now is the best time to see the shield shrimp as the recent heavy rain in the Central Australia region has brought them to life.
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