Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Peewees!

My Sea Monkey colony was doomed.  After all the eggs had hatched, there were two females and six males.  Over the next two months I found a new little corpse in the tank every couple of weeks until I had four left: all males.  That was it, then.  They were on palliative care until the last little shrimp gave up the ghost and floated to the bottom of the tank.  I was not looking forward to that sad day.

Of course I abandonned the idea of letting my co-worker adopt the tank.  You can't expect someone else to take over a doomed project voluntarily.  I made my peace with the cycle of life, and tried to take care of the little guys as best I could so that their last days would be happy.

When I found the males "hugging", I thought they'd gone gay out of desperation.  I suppose one or two of them could have been gay all along, although I'd never seen that behaviour when the girls were still around.  Good thing my house is LGBT positive.  They may as well have some fun.

Yesterday, after bubbling the tank (they need their daily dose of oxygen), I did a head count.  I've been checking every few days to measure the progress towards Total Extinction.  I noticed something unusual about one of the Sea Monkeys.  It looked as if he had sprouted ovaries overnight.  What the...?

Then, as I squinted into the tank, I noticed something even more amazing.  Peewees!  Lots of them!  Translucent little squiggles no bigger than a comma, motoring purposefully around the tank.  The previous two females were mated plenty, believe me, but there were never any babies.  No new Sea Monkeys had shown up since the initial packet of dried eggs was dissolved into the tank.  Now, it's a Sea Monkey Miracle!  The colony is saved!

I checked online and found two conflicting sources of information.  There are online references to a few scientific papers that seem to indicate that shrimps can be hermaphroditic.  Did my new momma start out as a boy?  The official Sea Monkeys website makes no mention of this possibility.  The Sea Monkeys fan website states that it's a fallacy - boys who turn into girls were girls all along; they were just late bloomers.

If she was a late bloomer, she was awfully late - a full two months behind her sisters.  In the Sea Monkey life span, that's like 7 human years.  But, I guess it's possible.

I'll never know exactly what happened, but I don't mind.  I'm just happy that my tank is filled with cute, healthy peewees.  I'm no longer tempted to give the colony away.  I guess I'm attached to them after all.

14 comments:

wigsf3 said...

it is not unheard of for all male colonies of simpler organisms to have some colonists mutate into females in order to ensure breeding. Haven't you ever seen Jurassic Park?

kenju said...

I've heard of that too,but never tried it out - lol

DarcsFalcon said...

You have the Jurassic Park of Sea Monkeys! LOL You should start a tourist trade and charge folks to see them, make a mint! :D

Hevenly said...

It's a miracle ! Well--it's not such a miracle in other species I guess. I always think that is cool when other species can change sexes, or have babies spontaneously. I'm also happy to hear your colony will continue !

Jameil said...

LOL. This whole saga is very amusing to me. Well congrats, momma!

DarcKnyt said...

Hooray for life snatched from the jaws of extinction! :)

Jenski said...

Hahaha - you sound so excited! Maybe with the other females, this one was being repressed somehow because of hormones and crowding or something. Enjoy the peewees!

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Your surprised? Imagine the formerly gay male sea monkeys surprise!!!

Lynn said...

Ah - that's nice. I'm glad they are doing OK.

Lulú said...

Wait a minute...how can u tell their sex? Mine are tiny...and I have about five or six of them at the moment. Yay, that you got more LIFE in your tank! I love hearing about your Sea-Monkeys!

zmanowner said...

A-Sexual sea monkeys..who would of thunk it....but hey sounds like they are thriving...woo hooo...hope they live long....zman sends

Sparkling Red said...

I saw Jurassic Park about a hundred years ago. If all y'all can remember the finer plot points such as hermaphroditic dinosaurs, well, I'm impressed!

Lulu: The girls grow a pair of black egg sacs at maturity. You'd think they were testicles if you weren't told otherwise. The boys have no visible gender apparatus.

Karen said...

It is a sea monkey miracle!

Lulú said...

I had no idea...I will check and see what's going on in the tank. I'm so excited now!! Hope they keep growing and wear crowns and lipstick someday! ;)