CHENGDU, May 27 (Xinhua) -- Fairy shrimp, an ancient species dating back over 200 million years, has been spotted in a park in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province.
A woman surnamed Huang and her friends found in a pond the red-tailed and black-eyed creature with over 10 pairs of leaf-like feet.
"We had no idea what it was at first, but further research helped us identify it as the fairy shrimp," said Huang. "We released it back to the water later." said Huang.
The freshwater species lacks a shell and is not technically a shrimp, but more closely related to insects, said Zhao Li, curator of the Insect Museum of West China in Sichuan. "They are called fairy shrimps due to their eye-catching colors and patterns."
"The species has existed for over 200 million years, long before the dinosaurs, due to its strong surviving skills," Zhao said.
He also speculated that the shrimps spotted in the Chengdu park grew from eggs either in the pond's soil or in the roots of the plants that were transported to the park.
The ancient species was also previously discovered in the city's paddy fields.