Vernal Pool Branchiopods
Vernal Pool Branchiopods (Fairy Shrimp)
Branchinecta sandiegonensis & Streptocephalus woottoni
Status: both Federally Endangered
Vernal pool, San Diego, CA
Fairy shrimp, also known as vernal pool branchiopods, are small crustaceans that occupy vernal pools. A vernal pool is a contained basin depression lacking a permanent above ground outlet. In California, these pools are seasonal and are typically found in grasslands, but can be found in chaparral or elsewhere. Even tire-ruts can be classified as vernal pools if they contain fairy shrimp, one of the parameters for assessing vernal pool presence. More than 90% of California’s vernal pools have already been lost, making them very special and highly protected habitats. The species that reside in them, including fairy shrimp, are also usually protected. Numerous rare plants, such as Eryngium aristulatum var. parishii and Pogogyne abramsii, are found in vernal pools.
Fairy Shrimp USFWS Survey Protocol & Requirements
Official Survey Protocol from USFWS can be found here.
Critical Habitat Information
Information on Critical Habitat is here.
More images can be seen here.