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BlueSalamander FairyShrimp
BlueSalamander FairyShrimp
Vernal Pools – Nature’s Unappreciated Wetlands
Published: 3/7/2024
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Novi is blessed with some very large chunks of woodlands with varying topography. In some, depressions fill with water, either melted snow, spring rains, or a combination of the two, to form temporary ponds that dry up in the summer. If you go walking in the woods in the summer, you may not even know that water had been there, but frogs, salamanders and other tiny creatures do. These wetland areas are called vernal pools, because they are typically only wet in the spring. But that is what makes them special. Because they dry up, fish don’t live in them. Salamanders, fairy shrimp and wood frogs love this because they are safe places for them to lay their eggs in the spring so their young can develop without being eaten by fish. Other animals use them too, but fairy shrimp (freshwater shrimp about an inch long that only live a few weeks), spotted salamanders, blue spotted salamanders and wood frogs are especially dependent on them. If you are lucky enough to walk in the woods and find a vernal pool with water in it, you may hear the frogs or if you look closely in the water, you may find egg masses, or tadpoles, or fairy shrimp swimming upside down above the decaying leaves in the water. Vernal pools are truly unique wetlands, and are very underprotected by ordinances because of their typical small sizes and their isolated locations, unconnected to streams or rivers. If you’re interested in learning more about them or the plants and animals that depend on them, look at the Michigan Vernal Pools Partnership’s website And take a walk in the woods to see if you can find one yourself. If you find one, you’re a lucky person. Look into the water carefully. You may see something new and exciting.