Monday, December 18th

Survival Of The Fittest Triops

Mood: pleased, happy
It is amazing to see how fast Athena the Triops has grown. Last week, I was ready to throw in the towel. Now I have one pretty large triops in my peanut butter jar. There really were two but Athena ate her (triops are cannibalistic). It is beautiful to see her swim around. She propels herself around with a bunch of little legs/gills that make this hypnotic rippling motion. Athena can swim quite rapidly around in rapid bursts of movement and when she picks up a piece of food, she spins it with her legs while she eats it. She also has frontal appendages that look like they have fingers.

For the first few days, Athena was small and white so I had to believe she was somewhere in there even if I couldn't actually see her. Now she is pretty noticable with her rapid swimming, long forked tail, red spine and grayish-red carapace. I can even see her eyes now. When she is not swimming around she is digging in the detrius at the bottom of the tank which is composed mainly of her moulted carapaces, the remains of her former tankmate, food, poop, and eggs that she has laid. Did I mention that not only are triops mainly female, but they are parthenogenic (just like the mythical Athena) and when the fresh water pools they naturally live in dry up, they go into diapause (suspended animation) until the water returns?

Having a little Athena swimming around a few feet from my computer is really inspiring now that I can see her. I can't explain how fascinating it is to watch her swim around. I used to have goldfish and a tropical fish aquarium when I was younger but there is something so much more interesting about triops. Perhaps it has to do with the hatching her and watching her grow, but it probably has more to do with how exotic-looking she is. Athena also seems to be way more intelligent-looking than any fish. Let's face it, fish are pretty but there is nothing behind their eyes. Triops didn't get to be the oldest animal species on earth- 220 million years and counting- by being dumb.

I'll try and get a picture up of Athena in the near future but she is so quick it is hard to get a good one.

santo26 on 12.18.06 @ 04:20 PM PST [link] [4 Comments]

Sunday, December 10th

The Circle Of Life

Mood: thrilled
Things were indeed looking grim for my triops community. I was supposed to see signs of life after 48 hours or so but it had been five days and nothing had happened. I was finally ready to call it a day and turn off the light when I saw some movement at the bottom of the jar. I saw two baby triops swimming around! They are very small and white and only noticable due to their wriggling about. Nonetheless, they have defied the odds and I am now a proud pet owner!

santo26 on 12.10.06 @ 07:43 PM PST [link] [14 Comments]

Triops Tragedy

Music: something appropriately funerial

It is time to admit to myself the horrible truth-my Triops are not going to hatch. The main culprit seems to be the temperature of the water. The jar I used is close to a window and since there is no heater inside the water it never warmed up to the proper temperature.

My options seem to be either wait for better weather or go to a pet store and buy a fishbowl and a heater. I think I might splurge on some proper equipment as I think they would be suitably inspirational.

santo26 on 12.10.06 @ 03:12 PM PST [link] [15 Comments]

Wednesday, December 6th

My New Pet

Triops_longicaudatus (28k image)

When I was back in Watertown for Thanksgiving, I decided to go through all of my old "Athena" notes. I figured since I am turning it into a novel right now, seeing the genesis of the idea would really be a help. One of the most important notes I found were the ones about Triops. Triops are one of the older living creatures and they are currently marketed as a form of "instant pet." An ex-girlfriend got a package and hatched some in the fall of 1998. She let me take one and it lived in a mason jar in my room and it lived for 2 months (they live for about 3 months). I had almost completely forgotten about the Triops but it was amazing to see how much they had inspired me.

I searched online for them and found a great website called MyTriops that is chock full of everything you could want to know about these creatures. The site inspired me to find a store nearby that sold Triops packets, so I bought one and now they are waiting to hatch in a peanut butter jar on my table. Total cost for Triops packet and distilled water: $6.50. That wouldn't even buy you a bag of cat food these days.

I'll keep you updated on the progress of my Triops farm.

santo26 on 12.06.06 @ 12:35 PM PST [link] [No Comments]

Monday, December 4th


Yesterday my housemate Adam and I went snowshoeing on the Keechelus Ridge. He suggested we go either cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. I've already done the cross-country skiing thing so I figured snowshoeing was the ticket. Adam already owns a pair of snowshoes so I had to rent mine from REI.

I have found my new winter thing to do. I had so much fun, let me tell ya. You go an hour outside of Seattle and there is so much snow. I can see this becoming a regular thing. I had no idea that there was a whole snowshoeing sport but apparently there is and I am now a part of it.

santo26 on 12.04.06 @ 07:37 PM PST [link] [No Comments]

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December 2006

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