Friday, April 19, 2013


A Belief in Fairies

2014 development project threatens habitat

Released by Rachel Drennan, FVWC


hat are we? We are freshwater branchiopod crustaceans. We swim on our backs and use our 11 pairs of phyllopods for propulsion, respiration and to channel algae and other organic particles to our mouth parts.


We grow to over 3 cm long. We are usually orange, but sometimes green and blue, sometimes transparent, and have reddish abdominal segments. Our females carry a couple hundred eggs, which drop to the bottom of the pool, dry out during the summer and hatch with the autumn rains. Our males have unique ornamental antennal appendages, used to clasp the female during mating.


Where do we live?

We live in neutral to mildly acidic ephemeral ponds, in mixed or open woodlands with low turbidity, little or no flow, no fish, and few or no waterfowl. Our ponds retain water from October/November to April/May, and dry up in the summer.


What’s our geographical range?

We have a highly disjunct, coastal distribution in southwestern British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and northern California, with a few populations in Oklahoma.  British Columbia is the northern extent of our range. We are the only fairy shrimp species found in the lower mainland, and on Vancouver Island and the Gulf islands.


What’s our problem?

We are becoming rare in British Columbia due to urban and agricultural development and drainage removing our required habitat. Only two extant populations are known for the lower mainland, one of which will be built upon in 2014.


Can you help locate more of us?

If you come across fairy shrimps anywhere in BC please contact Thalia Grant  via e-mail here or call 604 221-9440 with location details. She will be very grateful and happy to answer questions about us.




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