After all the rain in August and September, our creeks are flowing and the water tanks are full. There are sun-dews popping up all over the embankments near the dam and the water is teeming with life. We found an excellent site for assisting to identify these creatures at “Identification and Ecology of Australian Freshwater Invertebrates”. As well as plenty of tadpoles of all different sizes, we have found lots of different aquatic macro-invertebrates, including:
- tiny freshwater molluscs
- mosquito larvae
- red mites
- shield shrimp (like the one shown above)
Shield shrimp grow to 35mm and have between 35 and 71 pairs of legs. This minor group occur in ephemeral lentic waters. They are benthic and burrow into soft substrata. Notostracans are omnivores feeding on algae, bacteria, protozoans, rotifers and plant matter. Eggs can withstand long periods of desiccation and are activated by the presence of water. Eggs hatch to microscopic larval forms with only three appendages, antennules, antennae and mandibles. Larvae undergo several moults before attaining adult form.