Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

OLL LEWIS: Tri-ing To Save A Species

Triops cancriformis are an endangered species of triops found in only two locations in the UK. They are also, according to wikipedia, the oldest still extant species on the planet with fossil evidence for the species dating back to the Upper Triassic. Now, I’m not sure that that makes them the oldest species as claimed, hopefully if Darren or another palaeontologist is reading this post they can tell me via the comments just how true that statement may be (I have a suspicion that there are older species than that I learnt about in half remembered palaeontology lectures) but they are definitely a living fossil.

Triops live in seasonal pools and lay their eggs in the substrate which then lie dormant while the pool has dried up before hatching when the pool refills in a few months. Triops eggs can survive many years in this dormant state and this has helped them to become popular ‘educational’ pets similar to the more famous, but distinctly less impressive, ‘Sea Monkey’ or brine shrimp.

Cancriformis are endangered in the UK and as they are only found in the wild in two locations, one in Scotland and one in the New Forest, I am looking into the possibility of introducing individuals of the species into the wild locally. I have had great success in captive breeding of some eggs from laboratory specimens already and with a few more generations it may be possible to establish a viable population locally.

The photographs, by the way, are by Corinna.


stormwalkernz said...

Well done Oll.They are fascinating creatures and I at one stage was going to import some of the kiddies pet ones you see advertised - just didnt get round to it.

Rich said...

Triops are way more impressive-looking than the photos you supplied. No offense. http://www.akvaristika.org/forum/uploads/mikki/images/triops_12.jpg

Oll Lewis said...

That's because these triops are only a week or two old. Eventually the triops you see in the photos in this article could grow to about 4 inches in size... Which is a lot more impressive.

Rich said...

I'd love to see photos once they are grown! And any reports on your re-introductions plans I would follow with interest.

Spore God said...

Well technically the term living fossil is out dated the cancriformis species and related species dates back to some time in the Cretaceous era they are morphologically similar to there fossils in the past but evolution continues no species stays the same forever there are older morphological creatures such as sponges and jelly fish but its deffinetly sure that triops cancriformis isnt the oldest species arround which has become a major false fact

Spore God said...

Well auctually the term living fossil is out dated evolution continues no matter what they are however morphologically similar to there 260 million year old fossils having change little in appearance like jellyfish and corals that date back much further most of the triops species we have are recent ones fromYour Google verification code is the createacus era to modern times