RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - We are skimming the waters of Swan Lake. Because it's flooding, we are actually in Lemmon Valley neighborhoods, where the lake's flood waters have threatened homes.
This is where the Triops Longicaudatus lives-otherwise known as the tadpole shrimp--one of the oldest living things on the planet.
“I was gonna try and keep him alive,” the Lemmon Valley resident told us as she held a jar full of water with tadpole shrimp inside.
A neighbor in the area brought one down for us to take a picture of. It was being kept for a grandson.
The structure of this creature is more than 50,000,000 years old.
The eggs can last up to 20 years in the soil. They can sustain drought and freezing temperatures....then, when a major water event occurs, and wets the eggs, they hatch.
“The eggs are dormant, you add water and you get a life form,” says Kim Tisdale with Nevada Department of Wildlife.
We tried to find our own tadpole shrimp. At most we could find fairy shrimp, which the tadpole shrimp feeds on.
These fairy shrimp too have a prehistoric history, but it's not what we are looking for.
From neighborhoods to the other side of the newly-constructed four-mile barrier to keep the flood waters back--to the flooding desert. They've survived natural disasters and mass extinction events. They also eat mosquito larvae, which will come in handy in the summer months.
Just like the River Monster guy on cable TV, sometimes you come up empty-handed. Nevertheless the story of the tadpole shrimp is fascinating, and we know he is out there somewhere.