Tadpole Shrimp (Triops sp.) - Wiki
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[Photo] Triops australiensis (shield shrimp) Photographed by Stijn Ghesquiere (www.applesnail.net), May 2006
Triops is a genus of small crustaceans, in the order Notostraca (tadpole shrimp, shield shrimp, dinosaur shrimp). The other genus of Notostraca is Lepidurus. Triops sometimes also refers to the whole order. These freshwater animals are sometimes kept as pets. This is the more studied genus of Notostraca. Triops is sometimes called "living fossils", because one species, Triops cancriformis, changed very little since the Triassic (approximately 220 million years ago.)
"Triops" is originally a Greek phrase, meaning "three eyes." Notostracans, indeed, have two compound eyes, with an ocellus between them. The ocellus senses light, acting as an internal "compass".(In their natural habitat, the sun shines from above, therefore the animals believe that light is where "up" is.) The English language borrowed the word. Both the singular and plural is Triops.
Triops, like Sea-Monkeys® (brine shrimp) are marketed to school children to teach basic life sciences. Triops lays eggs that can live out of water for many years, this process is called Diapause. Diapause was discoverd by a 19th century German scientist. Triops have a relatively short lifespan of 20 to 90 days and grow quickly to their adult length of one to three inches.
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