What Sea-Monkeys Really Are

When you hear the word Sea-Monkey, it can render images in your mind of a monkey that lives in the sea.

It might seem a bit confusing, so let me explain what Sea-Monkeys really are…

Sea-Monkeys are a hybrid form of shrimp with the scientific name Artemia NYOS. They are offspring of normal brine shrimp with the scientific name artemia salina. They were bred specifically to improve the Sea-Monkey product with eggs that lay dormant longer than normal brine shrimp and the resulting Sea-Monkeys can live longer and grow bigger than normal brine shrimp.

This sounds simple enough but to fully understand what Se-Monkeys really are, we must explore their past.

The History Behind How Sea-Monkeys Became What They Really Are

So, the story goes, in 1957, Harold von Braunhut walked into a store and noticed a bucket full of normal brine shrimp aka artemia salina.

The bucket was next to some aquariums and labeled ‘fish food. When Harold peeked inside, he was amused by the tiny brine shrimp swimming around with their long monkey-like tails.

When Harold learned of 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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Brine shrimp come from salt lakes that go through droughts so brine shrimp eggs can lie without water for up to two years and then hatch when they come in contact with saltwater again.

Harold thought children would be amused with these creatures and decided to package the brine shrimp eggs, call them Sea-Monkeys, and market them as instant life.

He knew kids would be excited to watch their Sea-Monkeys instantly hatch and come to life. Harold named them Sea-Monkeys because brine shrimp is a boring name and he wanted a name that would attract children even though they are not monkeys and do not live in the sea.

Sea-Monkeys became a cult sensation, especially with the colorful illustrations of human-like monkeys that lived in the sea.

Everything seemed like it was going smoothly until there were several disappointed children because a lot of the eggs were duds or not very many of them hatched.

Harold knew he had a good product though if he could improve the brine shrimp eggs, which led him to…

Artemia NYOS

Harold teamed up with marine biologist Anthony D’Agostino at the New York Ocean Science Laboratory which was also the inspiration for the initials NYOS next to artemia.

Together they developed the super brine shrimp with eggs that could lie dormant for several more years than the normal brine shrimp eggs. Also, the hatched brine shrimp grew bigger and lived longer than normal brine shrimp.

These super brine shrimp became the Sea-Monkeys that are still popular today, with a few tweaks here and there.

Cult Sensation

Sea-Monkeys are also really a cult sensation. They became so popular that they had their own children’s cartoons. Sea-Monkeys have their own product line of clothes and novelty gifts.

Sea-Monkeys were even taken into space once on a shuttle mission.

Frequently Asked Questions Related To What Sea-Monkeys Really Are

Are Sea-Monkeys Really Alive?

Sea-Monkeys are really alive because they are living brine shrimp. People may ask this question because they seem like a novelty gift, but Sea-Monkeys are actual living creatures.

How Long Do Sea-Monkeys Live For?

Sea-Monkeys can live for up to a year versus normal brine shrimp which only live an average of 3 months. However, since Sea-Monkeys are constantly breeding and hatching eggs, a Sea-Monkey colony can live for up to five years, maybe even longer if they are taken proper care of.

What Do Sea-Monkeys Turn Into?

Sea-Monkeys turn into super brine shrimp with the scientific name artemia nyos. Sea-Monkeys can live longer and grow bigger than normal brine shrimp with the scientific name artemia salina.

How Big Can Sea-Monkeys Get?

Sea-Monkeys can grow 1/2 – 3/4 of an inch with the occasional owner saying their Sea-Monkey grew to an inch long. Normal brine shrimp can only grow up to a quarter of an inch.


I hope, we fully explained what Sea-Monkeys really are. They really are super brine shrimp, a cult sensation and even a novelty gift of sorts.

They are actually living creatures that your children may love waiting in anticipation to watch them hatch, so go get some today at Sea-Monkeys.com or on Amazon.

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