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Wow Are Sea Monkeys Actually Monkeys. Monkey Sea, Monkey Do

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Sea-Monkeys have been a cult sensation and a popular children’s pet since the ’50s.

When I talk to people that don’t know much about them, they often wonder if they are really monkeys, which seems amusing to me but a reasonable question considering what they really are and their history, but this will take a little explaining…

Sea-Monkeys are not actual monkeys and they don’t live in the sea.

They are a hybrid brine shrimp(artemia nyos) that were bred specifically to improve the Sea-Monkey product and are named Sea-Monkeys because of their long monkey-like tails, live in water, and so-named to appeal to children.

So, even though Sea-Monkeys are not actual monkeys, the history behind their name is interesting, so let’s explore it in more detail…

Are Sea-Monkeys Actual Animals?

As discussed above, Sea-Monkeys are actually brine shrimp but they are not the ordinary run-of-the-mill brine shrimp.

To explain this, we have to start at the beginning when their inventor Harold Von Braunhut first saw the ordinary brine shrimp swimming around in a bucket labeled fish food by some aquariums.

He was amused by their appearance with their long monkey-like tails and got the idea to market them as pets.

He knew about cryptobiosis which is defined as:

a physiological state in which metabolic activity is reduced to an undetectable level without disappearing altogether. It is known in certain plant and animal groups adapted to survive periods of extremely dry conditions.

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Sea-Monkey eggs aka brine shrimp eggs come from salt lakes that went through droughts. In order to survive, the Sea-Monkey eggs can lie in suspended animation, barely alive until they come in contact with saltwater again.

Harold Von Braunhut packaged the Sea-Monkey eggs and ran full-page ads in comic books of illustrated human-like Sea-Monkeys for that could be brought to life instantly if added to water.


The original Sea-Monkeys sold like crazy but many children were disappointed because brine shrimp eggs can only last for two years before they cannot be brought to life with saltwater and that’s only the best eggs.

Many of the eggs were duds.

Because they sold so well, Harold knew he had a viable product if he could improve the quality of the eggs, which led to the creation of…

Artemia NYOS

Harold teamed up with marine biologist Anthony D’Agostino at the New York Ocean Science Lab which also happen to be the initials for the NYOS next to artemia in the scientific name for Sea-Monkeys.

Together Harold and Anthony were able to breed certain shrimp with the normal artemia salina brine shrimp.

They kept at it until they developed brine shrimp eggs aka Sea-Monkey eggs that could lay dormant for several years, way longer than the normal brine shrimp eggs.

These super eggs, once hatched, also produced Sea-Monkeys that could grow bigger and live longer than the normal brine shrimp.

Artemia NYOS eggs replaced artemia salina brine shrimp eggs and instantly improved the Sea-Monkey product, helping more eggs hatch, while producing bigger and longer living Sea-Monkeys.


I hope we have answered your question, are Sea-Monkeys really monkeys and fully explained it to your satisfaction!

Sea-Monkeys can be very exciting for children, so get some today at Amazon.

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