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Opae Ula, an endangered and extraordinary species, is nestled in the clear waters of Hawaii, waiting to be preserved. These tiny crimson shrimps are not only a marvel of nature but also represent a fragile part of the Hawaiian aquatic ecosystem.
You may never have heard about Opae Ula before and it is quite common. After all, Opae Ula or Halocaridina rubra are only native to the Hawaiian Islands. They are small red shrimps, rarely longer than 0.6 inches, and are found only in brackish water pools, lave tubes, and anchialine pools in Hawaii. These small shrimps are known for exhibiting an attractive crimson coloring, which undoubtedly adds to their charm.
In spite of their exceptional attributes, we need to recognize that Opae Ula face a significant threat of extinction. Pollution and lack of habitat due to urban development are the key reasons why it is challenging for them to survive. In addition, rising sea levels and changes in the water chemistry due to climate change further worsen the state of these beautiful creatures.