Our instant pets: Triops

All pictures (thumbnailed)

stefan started it. He had read about triops on the net and wanted some. Ordering online was too expensive (because of the mail costs US > europe), so when a collegue of his had to be in the US he had him buy two sets.

What we got were from Triops, inc. in Pensacola

Stefan kept one set for himself to grow at work and gave the other to us, to grow in our livingroom.

As you can see from the pictures, ours hatched (4 triops). From the first day on they grew and grew...

until three weeks after hatching: 29-01-99 when they proved to be cannibalistic, they ate the smallest.

What are they?

Triops are crustaeans from the triassic period (the time of the dinosaurs), that have managed to survive into our age They live in desert areas and have a special means of survival: suspended animation.

What is that?

This means that they live in small ponds that form in the desert in the rain season. Very shortly after the eggs hatch (2 weeks) they start laying eggs. These new eggs will not hatch until after a dry season. This may be a very long period (15 years) This method of survival has 2 advantages: first the eggs can survive even if the place they had been laid will not be wet the next season, and second: the young will not be eaten by their parents right after hatching; and believe me: they will eat anything organic, even their own kind.

Triops have an exoskeleton, which means they have to shed their skin every now and then. This skin comes off beautifully intact: see below

Can I grow them?

Yes: it is very simple: in the set we purchased there was everything you need to grow your own: eggs, food, an instruction book and even a tank to grow them in (which we didn't use). it is as simple as: Yust add water and they will hatch.

In order to save food for a next generation I now feed them musquito larvae. They are doing quitte well on that.

where do I get them?

From what I gather around the net, Triops can be purchased at any school supply shop in the US. In Europe they are not very common, but you might try at one of these two

(uk) or in Germany

We tried another set, of which 6 triops hatched. Unfortunately one of them was a lot bigger then the rest, so it did not take a long time for him to be alone again. But he grew into a real monster triop.

The Totally Triops Web Ring.
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