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Common Name: Tadpole Shrimp
Scientific Name: Triops cancriformis

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Crustacean
Order: Ontostraca
Family: Triopsidae
Genus: Triops
Species: T. cancriformis 


Triops cancriformis has survived for 300 million years, making it one of the oldest living fossils.  This ancient species is also known as the tadpole shrimp, getting its name from its tadpole appearance from the top and its shrimp-like appearance from the bottom. These small crustaceans inhabit ponds in Europe, India, countries in the Middle East, and in Russia. These ponds are seasonal, which means they dry out during the summer. To make sure these small creatures live another million years, people need to understand the traits that this animal has, where they are found, what threatens them, and what can be done to prevent their extinction.

 Triops Cancriformis is six to eleven centimeters depending on where it lives, if kept in captivity they tend to be smaller.  The colors of this species vary from a mix of green, black, and brown.  An interesting fact about this creature is that they have three eyes, which is what triops means.  Some tadpole shrimp have a male and female part, which means they can reproduce asexually.  Female Triops cancriformis have eleven pairs of legs, but the females have an adaptation on the eleventh pair to pick up the eggs.  These are the traits that make up the Triops cancriformis.

 Triops cancriformis have survived for so long because of their ability to survive harsh environments.  They are found in temporary ponds around European and Middle Eastern countries as well as in Russia.  When these ponds dry out the adult tadpole shrimp will die, but the eggs are able to survive for long amounts of time.  Until 2004, scientists thought that the tadpole shrimp were only found in a pond in Great Britain, but now they realize there are more populations out there because of the tadpole shrimp egg’s ability to survive.  The exact population is unknown, but Triops cancriformis is capable of producing hundreds of eggs in only a few weeks.  Another interesting fact is that because some tadpole shrimp can reproduce asexually, only one egg would be needed to make a whole new population.  This species is sensitive to pollution, alien plants, products found in livestock manure, and it is preyed upon by ducks and fish.  This species is also classified as endangered in Great Britain and is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981.  To conserve their existence the acts of human beings need to be careful.

 Triops cancrformis mature and die quickly witch effects how they eat. Tadpole shrimp are omnivores eating small aquatic creatures, plants, and sediment. This species eats constantly to support their fast growth, eating 40% of their body mass daily. Predators of this animal are ducks and fish. Triops cancriformis are vulnerable to predators, but even if they get eaten the eggs will survive. The ability of the tadpole shrimp’s egg to survive in harsh environments, even in a bird’s stomach, the egg will survive. Their quick life span and ability to survive is related to their eating habits and their formation of their egg.

 The Triops cancriformis is one of the oldest species; it is as old as the dinosaurs. Because its anatomy has not changed it is considered the oldest living fossil, almost 300million years old. It is amazing that this creature’s eggs are able to survive vary harsh environments, which helps the survival of the entire species.  I personally like that the species is almost 300 million years old and still living. Hopefully with human awareness Triops cancriformis will be able to survive another 300 million years on earth. 


Author: Ty D.
published: 3/2013

sources:"Shrimp 'is World's Oldest Surviving Animal'" The Telegraph. 29 July 2010. Web. 17 Feb. 2012.  < animal.html>. 

"Planet Earth Online." Extreme Survivor: Triops, the 300 Million Year-old Living Fossil. Web.  20 Feb. 2012. <>. 

"Tadpole Shrimp." Buglife. Web. 20 Feb. 2012.  <>. 

"Tadpole Shrimp (Triops Cancriformis)." ARKive. Web. 20 Feb. 2012.  <>. 

"Tadpole Shrimp Is the World's Oldest Creature." Newslite. Glasgow University, 2 Aug. 2010.  Web. 17 Feb. 2012. <>. MYgNptSmw/s400/Triops+cancriformis2.jpg

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