World’s Oldest Living Species Found in Scotland

The tadpole shrimp Triops cancriformis has been found in the Caerlaverock nature reserve in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. It is considered to be possibly the oldest living species in the world, because it has remained nearly unchanged for an estimated 220 million years. (Another reference states tadpole shrimp may have been living for 300 million years.)

Scientist Larry Griffin who has studied the rare shrimp, said, “Triops matures rapidly and produces hundreds of eggs in just a couple of weeks. The pond they live in may dry out, but the eggs can survive in the mud for many years.”

Not only are the shrimp unique for having survived several major extinctions, they also can have both male and female reproductive parts so just one can generate a new colony. Tadpole shrimp live in seasonal, freshwater ponds. Their eggs are very tough. They can resist high temperatures (almost boiling), dryness and even consumption by birds. It is thought they also can remain in a dormant state for years, or even centuries until favorable conditions occur, and then they hatch. Tadpole shrimp have outlived dinosaurs, trilobites and mammoths. They are endangered and protected by law in Scotland.

Tadpole Shrimp Video


Michel P.
Past Member 7 years ago

Bugs Rock !

johan l.
paul l7 years ago

If the tadpole shrimp lives in the sea, and may be as old as 300million years, there is another seacreature that is judged to be up to 350million years old.
Now 50million years may not be an enormous number to scientists I thought I would put the record straight.
The "coelacanth" first found off the coast of East London in South Africa, is believed to be 350million years old.
That would make it the oldest species living in the ocean!

KK D7 years ago

Very interesting little creature that has lasted the true test of time.May it continue!!

Maria S.
Maria S7 years ago

Fascinating. Nature is so marvelous. We would be better off & leave a better world to our children if only we'd let it show it's beauty and stop distroying it.

Debra Van Way
Debra Van Way7 years ago

I hope they do keep them protected. What a find. Thanks.

Lilli P.
Lilli P7 years ago

Why are they endangered now after surviving so long?

Olivia Schlosser
Past Member 7 years ago

Thanks. Nature never ceases to amaze and delight.

Oceans Lover
Pedro Martinez7 years ago

thank you never knew that

Claire N.
Claire N7 years ago

They remind me of horseshoe crabs....

Robin T.
R T7 years ago

Our amazing nature. Never stops surprising us.

Why can't we give it more respect.

Make a difference, show Love, understanding and Tolerance. Plant a Tree.