Anatomy of Triops

Triops have been found to exist ever since the Triassic Period, about 220 million years ago. It was during this period that reptiles dominated the earth. It is simply a wonder that an organism such as the Triops has survived unrelenting evolutions – from reptiles, dinosaurs, to mammals and eventually human beings. However, from the oldest fossil that has been discovered of them, up to the modern Triops which roam our earth today, not much has actually changed with the way their bodies are structured.

These Triops are generally freshwater crustaceans and can only thrive in temporary bodies of water. They are also often referred to as ‘tadpole shrimps’ since their body structures greatly resemble frog larvae. The Triops usually only grows up to two to five inches in length. Its body is consisted of two parts, the head and trunk. However, it is still uncertain where the boundary lies between the thorax and abdomen which are found within the trunk.

About half of the Triops’ body is covered by a large carapace which is basically a shell-like structure common to crustaceans. This bodily structure acts as a protective layer for the Triops’ internal anatomy. At the foremost part of the carapace, a pair of compound eyes lies close to each other. Between these compound eyes, just at the midline of the carapace, is the naupliar eye which stems deeper inside the head. Hence, the name ‘Triops’ is given, which pertains to the animal’s three eyes.

Furthermore, the head is also consisted of five segments. Below the eyes lie a horizontal groove known as the mandibular groove which divides the upper two head segments and the lower three. Below the mandibular groove is the cervical groove which similarly divides the head and the thorax.

Meanwhile, found on the ventral part of the head is a lens-like window which primarily allows light to pass through the naupliar eye. Also found at the head are sets of antennas which according to studies are essentially futile and not easily noticeable. Found at the posterior part of the carapace is the maxillary gland which is consisted of two maxilla. These act as the Triops’ excretory glands.

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