Fairy shrimp, Photo Credit: Distant Hill Gardens

This graceful animal lives only in temporary ponds, never in ponds with fish. That's because it swims slowly and would make easy fish food. It still must watch out for hungry predaceous diving beetles, young salamanders and ducks. The fairy shrimp eats microscopic animals and bits of organic debris by waving its gill-legs and guiding the food into its mouth. It also swims by moving its gills in a wave-like pattern, which looks like it's playing a harp. Check to see if you have a male or a female. The male has large mouth claspers to hold the female. Sometimes the female will have two egg sacs attached behind her gills. Believe it or not, the eggs must dry and freeze before they can hatch!