Sep 12, 2021
1 mins read
Last month I was very lucky to finally see something I have wanted to see for several years - the beautiful fairy shrimp of Xiangtian Pool.
Xiangtian Pool is an ephemeral pool in an old volcanic crater on Yangmingshan National Park’s western slopes, and your only chance to see it full of water is after a period of extremely heavy rain. In fact the pool can sometimes go months or even a year without having enough rain to appear. But it’s not just the pool’s temporary existence that makes it an intriguing place, it is also home to Taiwan’s only known population of Branchinella kugenumaensis (aka fairy shrimp, aka 仙女蝦). Fairy shrimp - like their salt water cousins the sea monkeys - are fascinating critters which possess the ability to enter a period of suspended animation (known as a diapause) during times when environmental conditions are unfavourable. This means that when there is no water in the pool the shrimp eggs lay dormant in the soil, only to burst into life once enough rain comes along to replenish their home. When the waters recede once more, the eggs dispersed by the females get covered up by the muddy sediment on the pool’s floor and wait there for the cycle to begin once more. (If you look closely at the photo and video you can see a number of females carrying full egg sacs.)
If you want to know how and when to see them yourself you can take a look here.