13 Dec 2013
Have you ever heard of an amazing creature that can live in both fresh water and saltwater? The Opae Ula, which means red shrimp in Hawaiian, is a small red shrimp of the family Atyidae. It is one of the most amazing creatures on our planet as though being small in size, rarely longer than 1.5cm; it is a shrimp of the extremes.
Endemic to the anchialine ponds of the Hawaiian Islands, which are natural pools in volcanic rocks with brackish water and underground connection to the ocean, the Opae Ula have abilities to survive in very hostile environments and circumstances. Hence, this shrimp is known as a ‘wondershrimp’. The Opae ula can withstand temperature extremes between 30 degrees fahrenheit to 90 degree degrees fahrenheit, salinity extremes from fresh water to full strength saltwater as well as environmental extremes such as the lack of food for months and very low oxygen levels! Opae Ulas are herbivorous and detritivorous. They feed on algal and bacterial mats on the surface of rocks and other substrates in anchialine pools. These wonderful creatures have a lifespan of up to 20 years!
These creatures are simply amazing and adorable! They are able to easily adapt to the environment they are in, and are able to survive by just feeding on algae. They are also really friendly creatures that never fight with their peers.
Wish to catch a glimpse of this amazing creature in Singapore? It can be found at the Singapore Science Centre. They can also be kept as pets and are available for sale at a shop named CRS Haven.