F: Fairy shrimp
We know what you’re thinking: shrimp in the desert? Yes! Fairy shrimp (Order Anostraca), roughly the length of a fingernail (one inch) and translucent in color, can be found swimming in ephemeral pools during the spring and summer. These small crustaceans feed on algae and plankton within water pockets and serve as food for amphibians and birds. After mating, females lay eggs in the bottom of their pools in sand or mud; as the pools dry up the eggs stay dormant until the next major rain event, surviving for years or decades! Look for these creatures in the water pools along the Calico Hills and other sandstone outcrops. We recommend that visitors do not trample through or swim in these water tanks as that can destroy habitat and kill small unseen animals.