Many other invertebrates live in vernal pools and the surrounding
prairie. They belong to various groups. You will meet three of
them here but there are dozens more to discover on your own.
The Water Mite has eight legs, so it is grouped with spiders
rather than insects. Aquatic Snails are mollusks; like clams they
have a shell and no legs at all. Flatworms have no shell and no
legs. Several species of flatworms and snails live in
vernal pools. Each occupies its own niche in the aquatic
Scientific name: many different species Phylum: Mollusca Class: Gastropoda Habitat: most shallow freshwater habitats,
including ponds, lakes, creeks, rivers, and vernal pools Size: less than 12.5 mm long
For 2 billion years, bacteria were the only creatures on Earth.
Long before the dinosaurs, a special type of bacteria slowly
increased the level of oxygen in the Earth’s air to 20 percent.
Without this oxygen other plants and animals could not have
evolved, including us.
For Splash students, a “Tadpole Shrimp” is an endangered species
that lives in vernal pools. For rice farmers, a “Tadpole Shrimp”
is a common pest that destroys their rice fields. A rice farmer
would think you were crazy wanting to save “Tadpole Shrimp” from
With scientific names, there’s no room for confusion: the
rice pest is Triops longicaudatus and the endangered
species is Lepidurus packardi. Even a scientists who
speak different languages can understand one another when they
all use the Latin name!