Any animal without a backbone is called an invertebrate.  Hundreds of species of invertebrates live in vernal pools, but only about half of them have been named.  From insects to flatworms to seed shrimp, invertebrates create a diverse and interwoven world of creatures, living with (and off) one another. 

Some zoologists spend a lifetime studying a single group of invertebrates or even a single species.  There is so much we still do not know about them.  After reading about them and watching videos of them in action, visit The Faces of Science.  There you will discover a man who was so crazy about Fairy Shrimp that he searched the world over to meet them all!

Clam Shrimp

A Clam Shrimp looks like a small clam.  Two shells cover its body.  Between the shells you can see two body sections below the head. ...


There are many different species of Copepods.  Few of the species in vernal pools have been named.  You are most likely to spot the

Fairy Shrimp

Fairy Shrimp are pale-colored (normally gray-white) and transparent.  They have a long, narrow body with 11 pairs of paddle-like legs. 

Seed Shrimp

Many different species of Seed Shrimp live in vernal pools.  They come in many colors.  They have a single eye.  The body of a Seed...

Water Flea

A Water Flea swims in a jerky, hopping motion like a flea.  A carapace (shell) covers most of its body.  The carapace is hinged on...

Aquatic Snails

Freshwater snails are not as colorful as their saltwater cousins.  In general, their shells come in shades of gray, brown, and black, often with

Aquatic Beetles

The most common species of Aquatic Beetles in vernal pools come from two families: The Predaceous Diving Beetles (the Dytiscids) and the Water


Although they are called flatworms, these invertebrates are not flat.  They are round-bodied with a flat belly.  They are longer than they