But back to the point I was making...
When I first heard this song I jumped straight onto Wikipedia to find out just what a Triops is. Turns out that a Triops is a prehistoric creature that has survived for millennia in almost exactly the same form. This weird creature looks kind of like a cross between a trilobite, a prawn and a swimming cockroach. With three eyes, of course!
Satisfied with this answer I never gave Triops a second thought. That was until the girls and I were in Mr Mopps, a fantastic toy store and Berkeley institution, and discovered that Triops is alive and well and available to purchase in egg form! Intrigued by this strange creature, and spurred on by They Might be Giants singing in my head, I found myself purchasing a Triops hatchery kit to try out.
Now the reason the Triops has lasted in pretty much the same form for such a long time is diapause. Triops naturally inhabit small ponds which are prone to drying out. During times of drought adult Triops die out, however their eggs go into a state of diapause until the rain returns fill their ponds. Once their ponds are filled again the Triops eggs hatch. Similarly Triops eggs are grown in a lab, sent into a state of diapause and shipped to toy stores around the world ready to be hatched by eager kids and a container of water.
So it sounds like hatching a Triops is as simple as "just add water". Not so. The Triops appears to be a fickle creature and is quite fussy about his living conditions. Pure spring water is an essential starting point. No tap water, no distilled water, no bottled water that has gone through reverse osmosis... And this water must maintain a temperature of at least 74F (22.5C). That's right, I'm dealing in farenheit now. Bright light for the majority of the day is also required. Triops also likes grated carrot. This last one seems a little odd considering carrots don't tend to grow in small ponds. I'm guessing there must be nutrients in the carrot that helps the Triops to hatch. It also gives them something tasty to eat when they do hatch!
Once the water conditions are perfect the Triops eggs can be added. Fifteen to twenty of these poppy seed sized eggs can be added with the aim of hatching about three at a time. The pack contains enough eggs for about three or four hatching cycles.
|Ava eagerly await the hatching of the first Triops.|