National Sea Monkey Day is observed each year on May 16. Most of us have memories of waiting for our mail order shipment of these magical creatures. The delivery usually contained the small “aquarium-like” hatching kit for them to live and grow in.
Sea Monkeys are a type of “Artemia” (brine shrimp). They got their name because of their monkey-tail look.
Following the popularity of the ant farms, Harold von Braunhut invented the “Sea Monkeys” and hatching kits in 1957. He did most of his advertising through comic books. He once said, “I think I bought something like 3.2 million pages of comic book advertising a year. It worked beautifully.”
These little crustaceans have made their appearances on television shows including Spin City, Roseanne, Night Court, South Park, The Simpsons, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and Desperate Housewives.
Sea Monkeys went into space with astronaut John Glenn on October 29, 1998, aboard Space Shuttle Discovery. They returned to Earth after spending nine days in space and the eggs hatched eight weeks later, apparently unaffected by their travels.
- Sea monkeys go by many names. They are actually a form of brine shrimp with the biological name of Artemia NYOS. Sometimes they are also called seed shrimps.
- The brine shrimp sold as sea monkeys live longer than normal brine shrimp because they’re hybrids bred to do so.
- Sea monkeys are born with only one eye, but develop two more (for a total of 3!) as they grow.
- Sea monkeys can live up to 2 years with proper care.
- When sea monkeys are born, they are so tiny it’s very difficult to see them. In about a month’s time, they grow to about a half inch in length and will begin mating to make more baby sea monkeys!
- Sea monkeys breathe through their feet – how neat is that?
- Sea monkeys are loving little creatures who kiss and cuddle to show affection for one another.
- When sea monkeys need more oxygen, they will swim upside down. Since they breathe through their feet, this type of swimming provides it. A cousin shrimp, the fairy shrimp, swims upside down all the time.
- The “special ingredient” that is added to the sea monkey’s water is actually sea salt. Sea monkeys have to live in salt water to survive.
- Sea monkeys eat algae, so unless it gets too bad, don’t clean the sides of their tank of algae.
- You can tell a sea monkey is properly fed when you see its belly turns black after eating.
- If the tank is too cold, sea monkeys won’t grow.
- Sea monkey can change colors anywhere from white to a deep, dark red.
- Male sea monkeys have whiskers on their chins.
- 71.6 degrees is the perfect temperature for a sea monkey tank.