Perfect ponds 1: the tadpole shrimp pond

Tadpole shrimp pond in Scotland

Tadpole shrimp pond in Scotland (© L. Griffin/WWT)

It looks like nothing at all, but this garden pond-sized little pool close to the sea in Scotland is home to one of Britain’s most endangered animals – the tadpole shrimp known to biologists as Triops cancriformis.

This is only one of two places where the animal is found in Britain. Tadpole shrimp eggs hatched out again this autumn after a gap of several years, probably as a result of the combination of a wet and warm autumn. They were found by Larry Griffin, of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, who first discovered the animals here in 2004. There is only one other place in the country – the New Forest – where tadpole shrimps are found, another very special landscape, rich in unpolluted ponds.

Tadpole shrimp pond close up (© L. Griffin/WWT)

Tadpole shrimp pond close up (© L. Griffin/WWT)

Tadpole shrimps, and their near relatives fairy shrimps and clam shrimps, are ancient survivors – you can see very similar animals in fossilised ponds millions of years before the dinosaurs existed.

But although these animals have survived huge geological upheavals they might not survive what we are doing to the landscape now.

They need clean water, in seasonal ponds – ponds that dry out every year – and although there are still plenty of temporary ponds, the clean water these animals need is rare.

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2 Responses to “Perfect ponds 1: the tadpole shrimp pond”

  1. Neil Says:

    Are these protected on Schedule 5?

  2. Jeremy Biggs Says:

    Yes.

    Jeremy

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