Artemia salina, also known as Brine Shrimp, is a type of aquatic crustacean. It’s not really a shrimp but is more closely related to creatures like Triops and cladocerans.
Brine Shrimp has been around for a very long time, with its lineage going back about 100 million years!
Where Does Brine Shrimp Live?
Brine Shrimp live in saline lakes, ponds, and temporary waters. But you won’t find them in the seas.
They mostly live in the Mediterranean region. This includes Southern Europe, Anatolia, and Northern Africa. Some populations that were thought to be Artemia salina turned out to be different species.
Can Brine Shrimp Live in The Sea?
Brine Shrimp doesn’t usually live in the open sea. They prefer salt lakes. But there have been times when they were seen in Elkhorn Slough in California. This place is connected to the sea.
However, the ones living in North America are a different species called A. franciscana.
What Does Brine Shrimp Look Like?
Brine Shrimp have 3 eyes and 11 pairs of legs. They can grow to about 15 mm (0.6 in) in size. Their blood contains a pigment called hemoglobin, like in vertebrates.
Males and female Brine Shrimp are different. Males have bigger second antennae which they use for mating.
What Is the Life Cycle of Brine Shrimp?
The life cycle of Brine Shrimp begins with the egg, also called a cyst. After hatching, they become a larva known as nauplius.
Male Brine Shrimp have two reproductive organs. When it’s time to mate, the male clasps the female with his clasping organ. They can swim together for days.
The female Brine Shrimp can produce two types of eggs. Some hatch right away, while others have thick shells and can stay dormant for years.
They can even hatch if placed in saltwater. If the female dies, the eggs can still develop.
After hatching, nauplii have a simple eye that senses light. As they grow, they develop two more eyes.
What Are the Living Conditions of Brine Shrimp?
Brine Shrimp can live in water with a lot more or a lot less salt than normal seawater. They can even live in almost saturated salt solutions.
Brine Shrimp can survive in different types of solutions other than seawater for a few days. But they can’t live in freshwater for more than an hour.
Their color can change based on the salt concentration. High salt concentrations can make them look a bit red.
What Does Brine Shrimp Eat?
Brine Shrimp mainly eats green algae.
What Are the Uses of Brine Shrimp?
Brine Shrimp are often used for testing the toxicity of chemicals. Their eggs can survive for years, making them ideal for experiments.
You can even buy ‘Artemia growing kits’ for kids. These kits include eggs, salt, food, and necessary tools. They are sold under the name Sea-Monkeys. They are also used as fish food.
What Is the Conservation Status of Brine Shrimp?
Brine Shrimp was first described in 1758. The population in England is now extinct, but specimens are kept in zoos.
Nowadays, Brine Shrimp is limited to certain regions. There are other species that have been introduced to places outside their native range.
There are some debates about the naming and classification of Brine Shrimp. Some propose to recognize the extinct English population as a separate species.
Others suggest that the North African population should be considered a separate species. But genetic evidence shows that South European and North African populations belong to the same species.
Brine Shrimp Characteristics