Alien-looking shrimps have appeared in the middle of the dessert in Central Australia thanks to heavy rains. Called Shield Shrimp, they are not actual shrimps and are members of the crustacean family that could grow up to seven centimeters in length.
These Shield Shrimps are very resilient and remain dormant until there is sufficient rain, which triggers a population explosion. The eggs can survive up to seven years without rain, Michael Barritt told ABC Radio Darwin.
Their eggs can survive getting blown by wind to various places as well as extreme temperatures. When it rains, the eggs hatch and eventually eat up bacteria and other microorganisms they can find in the water.
The photos of the alien-looking shrimps were taken by Nick Morgan, when then send them to Park and Wildlife. It turns out that there is one species of Shield Shrimp in Australia, which are called the Triops australiensis. They may look strong due to their shields but the shrimps are actually defenseless. They may be easy target for fish and birds.
Because of this, we can usually find them in shallow waterholes. According to Barritt, people in Central Australia would have a good chance to see the animals at Palm Valley in Finke Gorge National Park, Redbank Waterhole in Owen Springs Reserve, at the top of Uluru and at Napwerte/Ewaninga Rock Carvings Conservation Reserve.
As of now, the scientists cannot explain why the shield shrimps ended up in pools of water on top of Uluru, located hundreds of meters above the Gibson Desert. However, they speculate that the most probable reason for these creatures to end up in such unexpected places could have been due to the wind blowing them to long distances or probably they could have traveled to places when Australia’s landscape look more different than it is now.