What are Sea Monkeys?

What are Sea Monkeys

Everything You Wish to Know About Sea Monkeys

Sea monkey is a name given to brine shrimp of artificial variety. These brine shrimp, popularly known as sea monkeys, are basically crustaceans that are seen undergoing cryptobiosis. They were developed by Harold von Braunhut in 1957 in the US. These crustaceans groups are sold as aquarium dwelling pets. They are also known as ‘instant life’.

How were Sea Monkeys Evolved?

What are Sea Monkeys

Harold von Braunhut was inspired by the ant farms made by Milton Levine in 1956. Harold with Dr. Anthony D’Agostino started developing a solution adding appropriate nutrients and other chemicals. This solution was made for shrimps. It could be added in tap water and a perfect habitat could be formed, too, for shrimps to live and flourish. On July 4 in 1972, Harold von Braunhut patented his idea.

The initial name given to these was ‘instant life’. The earliest price they were sold at was $0.49. Later the name was changed to ‘sea monkeys’ by Harold in 1962. The name sea monkey comes from the resemblance of the creature’s tails to monkeys and the habitat, salt water, they thrive in.

Comic Era

Sea monkeys gained popularity in comic books, especially in 1960s and 1970s. The illustrations were created by the artist Joe Orlando.

Biological Facts

What are Sea Monkeys

Sea-monkeys belong to Artemia NYOS, an artificially synthesized breed. As they show properties of cryptobiosis and anhydrobiosis, they can survive in conditions like desiccation.

They have been taken into space by astronaut John Glenn, in 1998. After returning to the earth eight weeks later, the eggs showed normal hatching phenomena and were not affected by any sort of hindrances and environmental changes.

They have been shown vulnerable to cosmic radiation, an experiment conducted on Artemia salina eggs.

Other Interesting Facts

Sea monkeys have a strange anatomy and physiology; for example this tiny organism can breathe in through feet. Also, they are born with a single eye and the second eye grows as the creature grows.

These shrimps are not at all harsh to the environment and are purely environment friendly.

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They were featured in various songs and shows. The Simpsons, American Dad, Desperate Housewives, Third Rock from the Sun, Spin City, Night Court, South Park, etc are a few of them.

Even a video game was launched on the concept of sea monkeys that included saving the sea monkeys from evil, protecting them and taking them securely to the safe places.

In 1992, a television show was dedicated entirely to these crustaceans, ‘The Amazing Live Sea Monkeys’, which aired on CBS. The star in that show was Howie Mandel. He played a role of a professor and he mistakenly makes sea monkeys to human sized giant crustaceans.


Sea monkeys’ packet is emptied in a water tank and they start forming colonies this way. Other content includes shrimp eggs, water conditioner and salt. Later, as the growth occurs, borax, soda, yeast and other additional contents get added up. Hatching of sea monkeys from the eggs occur. And as per the available instructions, the growth food is added to keep the nutrients supply adequate.

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These are artificially synthesized crustacean like brine shrimps. It’s totally a breakthrough in science and technology.

Here’s a video shows how sea monkeys appears like and their nature.