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Behold the Seed Shrimp!
Squirt is back! The DEEPEND scientists found a nifty seed shrimp. Seed shrimp are crustaceans, just like the Blind Lobster we talked about last time. Sometimes seed shrimp are called "mussel shrimp." This is because they have two shells that surround their bodies, just like a mussel. Seed shrimp belong to a group of crustaceans called ostracods. There are about 8,000 living species of ostracods. Ostracods can be found in almost any water environment on Earth, including deep seas, polar seas, freshwater ponds, and tropical beaches. Five species of ostracods are known to live in the ocean.
Ostracods are tiny animals. The average size of an ostracod is about 1 mm. That's only about the tip of a sharp pencil! But some species of ostracods, like Giant Ostracods, can grow to be 32 mm. Draw 32 dots right next to each other using a sharp pencil. Look at how big they can get! The seed shrimp the DEEPEND scientists caught was about the size of a green pea.
Remember the post on bioluminescence? Bioluminescence helps ostracods catch prey because they can see when their prey bioluminescence. Ostracods eat small prey such as copepods, mysids, chaetognaths, medusae, and even small fish. I hope the DEEPEND scientists catch some of these for us to see!
Do you see the purple spots inside the seed shrimp the DEEPEND scientists caught? They are eggs! Giant Ostracods store their eggs internally. The eggs develop there until they are ready to hatch. Then the young are released into the ocean.
More to come soon!