Buchanans Fairy Shrimp

Buchanans Fairy Shrimp. Illustration: Christopher Rogers

Buchanans Fairy Shrimp - Branchinella buchananensis

Distribution

They are known only from Lake Buchanan in southwest Queensland, and Gidgee and Burkanoko Lakes in the north-west of NSW (approximately 130 km north-west of Bourke).

Size

2-3 cm in length.

Characteristics

Buchanans Fairy Shrimp live in the water of temporary (intermittently inundated) salt lakes, which have salinities between freshwater and seawater. The eggs can remain viable in completely dry lake beds for years or decades. They hatch as soon as conditions are suitable, the adult shrimps appearing soon after the lake fills. Buchanans Fairy Shrimp filter feed on planktonic algae. After a few weeks to months, as the lake dries and the water becomes more saline, they lay dormant eggs that fall to the bottom. The population then disappears and does not re-appear until the lake dries and then refills. The primary habitat for this aquatic species is thus dry for most of the year.

Fisheries Scientific Committee determination

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