“Triops vicentinus” and Vila do Bispo temporary ponds

The “Triops vicentinus” a true living fossil, is an endemic species that exists only in temporary ponds in Vila do Bispo council. Contemporary of the dinosaurs, has existed for over 200 million years since the Upper Triassic – Lower Jurassic . The Triops genus derives his name from the three eyes. The vicentinus species was identified in 2010. These animals can reach up to 7 cm and in its first stage of life feed from filtering the water, ending his life as carnivorous predators, feeding mainly on insects.

Last December 13, we attended a public presentation of the project LIFE Charcos – Conservação de Charcos Temporários na Costa Sudoeste de Portugal, in Vila do Bispo Interpretation Centre and visited one of the temporary ponds where he had the opportunity to observe live several individuals of this species of freshwater crustaceans , which their drought-resistant eggs, which hatch with the first rains. Eggs also resist stomach acid herbivores and are transported in cattle feces, thus populating other flooded areas.

Also the fairy shrimps are another attraction of these ponds with its short cycle of 15 days of life. But the flora is not far behind and offers some interesting species such as thistle – of – ponds, a plant with hollow and fleshy leaves, during the phase in which the pond is flooded, which become spiny leaves during the dry phase.

Preservation of temporary ponds is essential to the survival of these species and is perfectly compatible with traditional agriculture and pastoralism.