Special Texas Wetlands, Page 1

Cover-Wondrous WetlandsTexas has some very special wetlands. Check them out!

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Enchanted Rock, near Fredricksburg, has special temporary wetlands called "vernal pools." Tiny fairy shrimp live in them.

No, Silly Goose, they don't have magic wands! But it would be nice if they did; fairy shrimp are in trouble and might become endangered. Visit this website to learn more: http://www.fws.gov/sacramento/es/animal_spp_acct/vp_fairy_kf.htm

Fairy shrimp swim like the one in this picture...on their backs!

Fairy Shrimp

Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Now...look at your fingernail - that's about how long a fairy shrimp will grow.

We don't eat these teeny critters. No way! It would take a gazillion of them to fill your tummy! But plenty of other creatures rely on them, so fairy shrimp play an important role in the food chain.

Even if it's usually dry where you live, you could still live near one of these special wetlands. Puddles that last for two or more weeks could be a vernal pool.

Next time it rains, look for puddles near your home or school. When you find one check to see:

  • Are things swimming around in the puddle?
  • Has the puddle been there for two weeks or more?
  • Could the puddle be a vernal pool providing a home for new life?

Even temporary wetlands can create habitat for certain critters - like fairy shrimp.

This is a really good site for learning lots about vernal pools: http://www.vernalpool.org/vpinfo_1.htm

Big Thicket National Preserve

Big Thicket Pitcher Plant

Ever heard of a plant that eats meat!? Yep...they exist and one, called the "pitcher plant" lives right here in Texas!

What makes the pitcher plant say, "Yum!"? Any insect that slides down its slippery pitcher-shaped side and into its digestive juices.

 

Big Thicket National Preserve

Photo Credit: National Park Service

 

Big Thicket has lots of pine trees!

 

 

 

 

 

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