Monster Energy, Viral Tiktoks and climate change

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It just happened: the Sea Monkeys are experiencing a renaissance.

If you’ve ever turned 8, you’ve probably raised a Sea Monkey and the good news to bring back to your inner child it’s that the little guys are back in the spotlight thanks to Tiktoker Papa Artemia.

John Bozinov is the mastermind behind the account that is making people fall in love with Sea Monkeys all over again. You may have seen this video where someone puts drops of Monster Energy Drink in a Sea Monkey tank causing the Sea Monkeys to grow abnormally large. Well, that someone is John and unfortunately that video wasn’t real, more of an April Fool’s prank.

@artemiadaddy Reply to @sniipxzy MONSTER SEA MONKEYS #cap ♬ Warm Christmas Lofi Beat – Gloveity

John is a photographer who has documented Antarctica and the Arctic through his photos for the past 5 years, but when COVID hit he had time up his sleeve so he decided to turn his attention to capturing the world wonderful Sea Monkeys.

“To be honest, I was quite surprised how much attention the videos got as I’m well aware that this is a very specialized and unusual hobby,” laughed Bozinov.

“So I put them on TikTok just to put them there and see what would happen. I was quite pleasantly surprised at the traction and audience it gained after a few weeks.

John’s Sea Monkey videos now have over 10 million likes and range from sharing videos of rare tanks, close-ups, and tips and tricks on how to care for your little pets.

But have you ever wondered what a Sea Monkey actually is? That thing swimming around your tank is a brine shrimp. It’s a tiny crustacean that likes to live in pools and salt lakes, and what makes it unique is that when brine shrimp eggs dry out, those eggs can lie dormant, ready to hatch for longer. ‘a decade.

This makes them the perfect eggs to place in small packages until someone scoops them up, adds water, and turns the show-stopping dust into their own mini aquarium.

The girlbossification of the animal kingdom continues when I learned that female sea monkeys don’t need a guy to break the eggs and honestly, I wish I could do the same.

One of John’s favorite things about Sea Monkeys is that they have multiple methods of reproduction.

“So they have reproduction by sexual means, where the male and the female will mate and the female will produce offspring. But even if there are no males present, the female is still able to procreate.

“So even if you only have one female Sea Monkey, she can still have a lot of babies.”

It looks like girlbossification of the animal kingdom lives another day because female sea monkeys don’t need a guy to hatch eggs and honestly, I wish I could do the same.

A pregnant sea monkey under the microscope (Image: Dan Olsen)

In parts of Western Australia, there are lakes that have wild brine shrimp, aka Sea Monkeys, swimming around and living their best lives. But when it comes to the Sea Monkey eggs we buy for our mini aquariums, most come from the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

In fact, there are billions of brine shrimp in the Great Salt Lake and John noted how boats will go out and collect brine shrimp eggs to then dry and ship them. The vast majority of brain shrimp eggs sold worldwide are purchased in bulk to feed aquarium fish. Once these eggs are put in salt water, they hatch and fish owners then have small crustaceans to feed their fish.

However, not all of them are fairy tales and colorful tanks for Sea Monkeys, if you thought being shipped off to be nibbled on by another fish was the worst thing that could happen to them, think again because Sea Monkeys don’t. are unfortunately not immune to the impacts of climate change.

Like all parts of the animal kingdom, global warming is impacting habitats and while it may be surprising to link climate range to sea monkeys, it link is definitely there.

The Great Salt Lake aka Sea Monkey HQ has already shrunk by two-thirds and continues to dry up.

This will have an impact on the Artemia colonies and also on the 10 million Migrator birds who stop at the lake every year.

While we’re still a long way from seeing the Sea Monkeys disappear, the outpouring of love for them in John’s videos becomes just another reminder of why we need serious climate action, because who wants a world without Sea Monkeys?

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