COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) --In the middle of Costa Mesa's Fairview Park stands what looks like a large puddle, but according to wildlife biologist Kevin Livergood, it's not what it seems.
"It's a vernal pool," Livergood says. The muddy pool, which is expected to dry up completely in just a few weeks, plays host to a variety of common creatures, but that's not what has biologists excited.
Two rare and endangered species of shrimp have been discovered in the vernal pool. One is the exceedingly rare San Diego fairy shrimp, but that's the one scientists already knew about.
The biggest find was the endangered Riverside fairy shrimp. The unexpected discovery marks the first time the species has been detected in a vernal pool like the one in Costa Mesa.
That's why the pool has been cordoned off by wildlife officials seeking to protect the endangered shrimp.
The area hasn't seen significant standing water since 2010. Livergood said the fairy shrimp were hatched from eggs that sat in bone-dry ground for seven years. The shrimp eggs, called cysts, can sit in dry ground for 20 years or longer, according to Livergood.
Once hatched, however, the fairy shrimp's lifespan is only about three weeks, Livergood says most of the shrimp discovered in the Costa Mesa vernal pool have already passed on.