Working in greenhouses, I’m used to the typical pests like fungus gnats, aphids, and thrips. Seed Shrimp? Well, they’re kinda new for me.
When we first started the aquaponics system, we had fungus gnat larvae and bloodworms (midge larvae) show up on our roots. A healthy population of mosquito fish has kept them both in check. Here’s a shot of the bloodworms. Their clear bodies show off the hemoglobin which is what gives them a red appearance.
We get some green peach aphids from time to time, but I found something new I hadn’t seen before. Seed Shrimp!
Seed Shrimp are ostracods and they live in vernal pools. They look like tiny green clam like seeds. When their “shells” open, these sweeping appendages reach out and collect food.
They collect mostly on older root systems presumably to eat the older decaying root matter. They do get on the younger plants and I believe they could eventually be a problem if I had mature plants. When I had rainbow chard and kale, those plants stayed in the rafts for quite awhile producing crop after crop, but they really collected the seed shrimp. So much that I don’t grow them anymore. That, and the fact that Half Moon Bay, CA produces a heckuva a lot of leafy greens. They weren’t worth the hassle.
In some ways, I think the seed shrimp are helping to keep the troughs clean of debris and detritus, but if they get out of hand, I’m going to have to figure something out. Planting to them to grow shrimp doesn’t seem to be working. 😀