Roll over Fido ― Sea-Monkeys are hereSea-Monkeys, a hybrid type of brine shrimp that became popular as pets in the United States in the 1970s, have finally made their debut in Korea. These aquatic creatures were introduced in November, and are fast becoming the hippest thing to own for children and for adults.
These aquatic pets, which can grow up to 2 centimeters (0.75 inches) long, are merchandised as pets and toys. They are usually raised in fish bowls using kits, such as a model of a space shuttle, or perhaps a tank.
They can even be put in an aquatic wristwatch and carried around. But because these creatures need oxygen to survive, they must be returned to their fishbowl habitat within 24 hours. The cost of these kits varies from 25,000 to 45,000 won ($21 to $40).
May is only half done, but because of Children’s Day, already twice as many sea-monkeys have been sold this month as in the first four months of the year, according to Yoo Jong-cheol, director of Sea-Monkey Korea, Inc. There is even a Sea-Monkey Internet cafe that has been formed by fans of the tiny sea creature.
The Sea-Monkey (Artemia nyos) is a crustacean that is cryptobiotic, meaning that it can remain unhatched and inert, in a kind of suspended animation, for up to 50 years. But once the eggs are released into a high-sodium, watery environment, they hatch and live their lives.
Sea-Monkeys usually live two to three years, and can reproduce either sexually or asexually. They are usually light gray, but can change colors according to their mood.
If sea-monkeys are bred in a suitable environments, they will emerge from their stasis and will mate, lay eggs and live their usual life cycle. They feed on algae and bacteria, and breathe through gills on their feet. It generally takes four to five weeks and six or seven moltings for Sea-Monkeys to grow to their full size.
by Choi Jie-ho
For more information, call (02) 579-9338 or visit www.seamonkey.co.kr.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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