After my first batch of sea monkeys all sickened and died, I went back to the local National Geographic shop to get a $10 replacement pack... but I was captivated by the colourful and whimsical look of the "Sea Monkeys on the Moon" pack - so I bought that.
This has been fun for my students, and a bit of a novelty, but in retrospect it was not a great buy - it's actually easier to see and look after the sea monkeys in their original jar ( see Sea Monkeys journal ).
Hatching Sea Monkey:
In the photos below, you can make out the little "feelers" developing. The swimming limbs are only starting to develop, but the "arms" work up and down to propel the babies around in the water with a chugging motion.
The photos are blurry because the sea monkeys are really only about as big as this full stop. I'm using a Canon 3/4 camera with a fixed lens on Super macro, right next to the glass jar.
The sea monkeys were enjoying the spot of light from the lamp, so I decided to try filming them. My husband had the footy on TV in the next room, so I turned on the CD player to drown it out.
My son had left a Chopin CD in the player, and the sea monkeys really seemed to enjoy it!
The video should show up here from YouTube or in Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bycp/5041837032/in/set-72157624468364201/
There are now 6 adult sea monkeys left. Over the past few days, there have been little fuzzy bits in the jar; I assume these are the skins shed as they grow. One sea monkey died this week, its little body looking quite dark around the head (usually they are very pale when they die), so maybe this was due to not shedding its skin properly.
I noticed several fresh-looking cysts ("eggs") the other day, and now there is one tiny baby chugging around.
Two of the adults are mating, with the male locked on to the female's tail as they swim around for at least half an hour or so. The male uses the transparent graspers on the back of his head to hold on:
Here's a 36-piece jigsaw made at www.jigsawplanet.com:
Sea Monkeys Update June 17, 2011
In January, I only had one adult sea monkey left from the second batch. I had added some green algae from the water kept from the first batch, and my water for the 2nd batch had become nice and green. The remaining few sea monkeys had take on a pretty pink tinge with a green “food canal” down the middle, giving them a green tail. Now I was down to one surviving male.
He kept on going strong, so I named him Samson. I felt sorry for him being alone, and in Feb I began a new batch of eggs (from a set of packs I bought on eBay). In their 3rd week I added 2 of the bigger babies in with Samson.
On 26 April, Samson finally died.
Now I had 3 females and a male from Batch 3 in “Samson’s” jar and a sole male in the glass. I added one of the females in with the male, and by the end of may, the female was pregnant. She deserved a name, so I called her Martha (the mother), and the male Arthur.
They kept mating spasmodically, and on 4 June I noticed new babies.
Soon there were several dozen babies chugging around the glass. Martha still had some eggs in her egg sac. They seemed to work their way down the sides of her tail before being “laid”. I could see what looked like fresh eggs, so I don’t think the babies were born live, but she seemed to be releasing the eggs when they were ready to hatch.
On 5 June, I took some photos of the other 3, and noticed that the pale one seemed to have lumps down the side of her tail.
On 12 June, the 2nd Male (in with the 2 females) died. I soon realised the pale female was pregnant, though. Because she was small and pale, and had pale eggs, it was less noticeable. There was no sign of babies or eggs in the water. Soon, you could see two pale bumps at the base of her tail – paler and fewer eggs than Martha. I named her Pammy (the Mummy); the pink female became Pinkie and the male was posthumously named Percy. I hoped his legacy would live on.
Today, I have the 2 females in one glass (with one of Martha’s babies I had added from the other jar last week - I added 2 but can only see 1 growing now). Pammy still has her “double” egg sac, and is quite happy to pose for my camera. Pinkie is hard to photograph, as she always seems to be swimming around- she’ll strike a pose, then just as I take a photo, she’ll flick around and swim away.
In the other jar (taken to school during the week) are Arthur and Martha (who still has some eggs ) and at least 20 of their babies swimming around and growing fractionally. Arthur and Martha have been mating a few times over the past week or so, so maybe they’ll keep producing...
I gave them some food today (a touch in the jar as there are so many babies) and a tiny bit in the glass; I also sucked up 2 or 3 babies and put them in with Pattie and Pammy, as they have a nice glass with lots of algae. I couldn’t see how many are in there now as the water is all stirred up. I gave both jars a bit of air with my eye dropper (haven’t bothered for ages as there was plenty of algae and not many sea monkeys). Took some photos and Martha was posing for me but Arthur, as usual, was swimming in the middle, away from the camera, or just swimming past.
Update: In mid July, Arthur and Martha were mating again, and there were still over a dozen babies, but by the end of the month Pammy had died and there were no babies visible any more. At the end of July, Martha's egg sac went black around the edges and she died; Pinky also perished. Now Arthur was all alone.
I started a new pack to give Arthur some companions, but he died at the end of August, at the ripe old age of 6 months. The new batch grew well for a few weeks, but they all perished by the end of August, so I gave up on Sea Monkeys for a while.