Brine shrimp

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Brine shrimp
Artemia salina 4.jpg
Artemia salina mating pair – female left, male right
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Branchiopoda
Order: Anostraca
Family: Artemiidae
Grochowski, 1895
Genus: Artemia
Leach, 1819
Species[1]
  • Artemia franciscana
  • Artemia monica
  • Artemia NYOS
  • Artemia persimilis
  • Artemia salina
  • Artemia sinica
  • Artemia tibetiana
  • Artemia urmiana
  • parthenogenetic populations

Artemia is a genus of aquatic crustaceans known as brine shrimp. Artemia, the only genus in the family Artemiidae, has changed little externally since the Triassic period. The historical record of the existence of Artemia dates back to 982 from Urmia Lake, Iran, although the first unambiguous record is the report and drawings made by Schlösser in 1756 of animals from Lymington, England.[2] Artemia populations are found worldwide in inland saltwater lakes, but not in oceans. Artemia are able to avoid cohabiting with most types of predators, such as fish, by their ability to live in waters of very high salinity (up to 25%).[3]

The ability of the Artemia to produce dormant eggs, known as cysts, has led to extensive use of Artemia in aquaculture. The cysts may be stored for long periods and hatched on demand to provide a convenient form of live feed for larval fish and crustaceans.[3] Nauplii of the brine shrimp Artemia constitute the most widely used food item, and over 2000 tonnes of dry Artemia cysts are marketed worldwide annually. In addition, the resilience of Artemia makes them ideal animals for running biological toxicity assays and it is now one of the standard organisms for testing the toxicity of chemicals. A breed of Artemia is sold as a novelty gift under the marketing name Sea-Monkeys.

Description[edit]

The brine shrimp Artemia comprises a group of eight species very likely to have diverged from an ancestral form living in the Mediterranean area about 5.5 million years ago.[4]

Artemia is a typical primitive arthropod with a segmented body to which is attached broad leaf-like appendages. The body usually consists of 19 segments, the first 11 of which have pairs of appendages, the next two which are often fused together carry the reproductive organs, and the last segments lead to the tail.[5] The total length is usually about 8–10 millimetres (0.31–0.39 in) for the adult male and 10–12 mm (0.39–0.47 in) for the female, but the width of both sexes, including the legs, is about 4 mm (0.16 in).

The body of Artemia is divided into head, thorax, and abdomen. The entire body is covered with a thin, flexible exoskeleton of chitin to which muscles are attached internally and shed periodically.[6] In female Artemia a moult precedes every ovulation.

For brine shrimp, many functions, including swimming, digestion and reproduction are not controlled through the brain; instead, local nervous system ganglia may control some regulation or synchronization of these functions.[6] Autotomy, the voluntary shedding or dropping of parts of the body for defence, is also controlled locally along the nervous system.[5] Artemia have two types of eyes. They have two widely separated compound eyes mounted on flexible stalks. These compound eyes are the main optical sense organ in adult brine shrimps. The median eye, or the naupliar eye, is situated anteriorly in the centre of the head and is the only functional optical sense organ in the nauplii, which is functional until the adult stage.[6]

Ecology and behavior[edit]

Brine shrimp can tolerate varying levels of salinity from 25‰ to 250‰ (25–250 g/L),[7] with an optimal range of 60‰–100‰,[7] and occupy the ecological niche that can protect them from predators.[8] Physiologically, optimal levels of salinity are about 30–35‰, but due to predators at these salt levels, brine shrimp seldom occur in natural habitats at salinities of less than 60–80‰. Locomotion is achieved by the rhythmic beating of the appendages acting in pairs. Respiration occurs on the surface of the legs through fibrous, feather-like plates (lamellar epipodites)[5]

An Artemia cyst

Reproduction[edit]

Males differ from females by having the second antennae markedly enlarged, and modified into clasping organs used in mating.[9] Adult female brine shrimp ovulate approximately every 140 hours. In favourable conditions, the female brine shrimp can produce eggs that almost immediately hatch. While in extreme conditions, such as low oxygen level or salinity above 150‰, female brine shrimp produce eggs with a chorion coating which has a brown colour. These eggs, also known as cysts, are metabolically inactive and can remain in total stasis for two years while in dry oxygen-free conditions, even at temperatures below freezing. This characteristic is called cryptobiosis, meaning "hidden life". While in cryptobiosis, brine shrimp eggs can survive temperatures of liquid air (−190 °C or −310 °F) and a small percentage can survive above boiling temperature (105 °C or 221 °F) for up to two hours.[8] Once placed in briny (salt) water, the eggs hatch within a few hours. The nauplius larvae are less than 0.4 mm in length when they first hatch. Brine shrimp have a biological life cycle of one year.

Diet[edit]

In their first stage of development, Artemia do not feed but consume their own energy reserves stored in the cyst.[10] Wild brine shrimp eat microscopic planktonic algae. Cultured brine shrimp can also be fed particulate foods including yeast, wheat flour, soybean powder or egg yolk.[11]

Aquaculture[edit]

Artemia breeding ponds, San Francisco Bay

Fish farm owners search for a cost-effective, easy to use, and available food that is preferred by the fish. From cysts, brine shrimp nauplii can readily be used to feed fish and crustacean larvae just after one-day incubation. Instar I (the nauplii that just hatched and with large yolk reserves in their body) and instar II nauplii (the nauplii after first moult and with functional digestive tracts) are more widely used in aquaculture, because they are easy for operation, rich in nutrients, and small, which makes them suitable for feeding fish and crustacean larvae live or after drying.

Toxicity test[edit]

Artemia found favour as a "standard" organism in toxicological assays, despite the recognition that it is too robust an organism to be a sensitive indicator species.[12][citation needed]

In pollution research Artemia, the brine shrimp, has had extensive use as a test organism and in some circumstances is an acceptable alternative to the toxicity testing of mammals in the laboratory.[13] The fact that millions of brine shrimp are so easily reared has been an important help in assessing the effects of a large number of environmental pollutants on the shrimps under well controlled experimental conditions.

Threatened[edit]

Artemia monica (male)

Artemia monica, the variety commonly known as Mono Lake brine shrimp, are found only in Mono Lake, Mono County, California. In 1987, Dennis D. Murphy from Stanford University petitioned the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to add A. monica to the endangered species list under the Endangered Species Act (1973). The diversion of water by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power resulted in rising salinity and concentration of sodium hydroxide in Mono Lake. Despite the presence of trillions of brine shrimp in the lake, the petition contended that the increase in pH would endanger them.

The threat to the lake's water levels was addressed by a revision to California State Water Resources Control Board's policy, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service found on 7 September 1995 that the Mono Lake brine shrimp did not warrant listing.[14]

Space experiment[edit]

Scientists have taken the eggs of brine shrimp to outer space to test the impact of radiation on life. Brine shrimp cysts were flown on the U.S. Biosatellite II, Apollo 16, and Apollo 17 missions, and on the Russian Bion-3 (Cosmos 782), Bion-5 (Cosmos 1129), Foton 10, and Foton 11 flights. Some of the Russian flights carried European Space Agency experiments.

On Apollo 16 and Apollo 17, the cysts traveled to the Moon and back. The cosmic ray passed through an egg would be detected on the photographic film in their container. Some eggs were kept on Earth as experimental controls to ensure a fair test. Also, as the take-off in a spacecraft involves a lot of shaking and acceleration, one control group of egg cysts was accelerated to seven times the force of gravity and vibrated mechanically from side to side for several minutes so that they could experience the same violence of a rocket take-off.[15] There were 400 eggs in each experimental group. All the egg cysts from the experiment were then placed in salt water to hatch under optimum conditions. As a result, a high sensitivity to cosmic radiation was observed on Artemia salina eggs; 90% of the embryos, which were induced to develop from hit eggs, died at different developmental stages.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alireza Asem, Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani, Patricio De Los Rios (2010). "The genus Artemia Leach, 1819 (Crustacea: Branchiopoda): true and false taxonomical descriptions". Latin American Journal of Aquatic Research 38: 501–506. 
  2. ^ Alireza Asem (2008). "Historical record on brine shrimp Artemia more than one thousand years ago from Urmia Lake, Iran". Journal of Biological Research-Thessaloniki 9: 113–114. 
  3. ^ a b Martin Daintith (1996). Rotifers and Artemia for Marine Aquaculture: a Training Guide. University of Tasmania. OCLC 222006176. 
  4. ^ F. A. Abreu-Grobois (1987). "A review of the genetics of Artemia". In P. Sorgerloo, D. A. Bengtson, W. Decleir & E. Jasper. Artemia Research and its Applications. Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on the Brine Shrimp Artemia, organised under the patronage of His Majesty the King of Belgium 1. Wetteren, Belgium: Universa Press. pp. 61–99. OCLC 17979639. 
  5. ^ a b c Cleveland P. Hickman (1967). Biology of Invertebrates. St. Louis, Missouri: C. V. Mosby. 
  6. ^ a b c R. J. Criel & H. T. Macrae (2002). "Artemia morphology and structure". In T. J. Abatzopoulos, J. A. Breardmore, J. S. Clegg & P. Sorgerloos. Artemia: Basic and Applied Biology. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 1–33. ISBN 978-1-4020-0746-0. 
  7. ^ a b John K. Warren (2006). "Halotolerant life in feast or famine (a source of hydrocarbons and a fixer of metals)". Evaporites: Sediments, Resources and Hydrocarbons. Birkhäuser. pp. 617–704. ISBN 978-3-540-26011-0. 
  8. ^ a b Whitey Hitchcock. "Brine shrimp". Clinton High School Science. Archived from the original on September 3, 2010. Retrieved March 13, 2010. 
  9. ^ Greta E. Tyson & Michael L. Sullivan (1980). "Scanning electron microscopy of the frontal knobs of the male brine shrimp". Transactions of the American Microscopical Society 99 (2): 167–172. JSTOR 3225702. 
  10. ^ P. Sorgeloos, P. Dhert & P. Candreva (2001). "Use of the brine shrimp, Artemia spp., in marine fish larviculture". Aquaculture 200: 147–159. doi:10.1016/s0044-8486(01)00698-6. 
  11. ^ Kai Schumann (August 10, 1997). "Artemia (Brine Shrimp) FAQ 1.1". Portland State University. Archived from the original on August 14, 2007. Retrieved March 13, 2010. 
  12. ^ Micharl Dockey & Stephen Tonkins. "Brine shrimp ecology". British Ecological Society. 
  13. ^ L. Lewan, M. Anderrson & P. Morales-Gomez (1992). "The use of Artemia salina in toxicity testing". Alternatives to Laboratory Animals 20: 297–301. 
  14. ^ "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding for a Petition to List the Mono Lake Brine Shrimp as Endangered". Federal Register (United States Fish and Wildlife Service) 60 (173): 46571–46572. 1995. 
  15. ^ H. Planel, Y. Gaubin, R. Kaiser & B. Pianezzi (1980). The effects of cosmic rays on Artemia egg cysts. Laboratoire Medicale. Report for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Faculté de Médcine, Toulouse, France). 
  16. ^ H. Bücker & G. Horneck (1975). "The biological effectiveness of HZE-particles of cosmic radiation studied in the Apollo 16 and 17 Biostack experiments". Acta Astronautica 2 (3–4): 247–264. doi:10.1016/0094-5765(75)90095-8. 

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