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sea monkey


a mythical animal that is part monkey, part fish; also, a brine fish used as aquarium fish food's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for sea monkey

1909 as a heraldic animal, 1964 as a U.S. proprietary name for brine shrimp (Artemia salina), which had been used as food for aquarium fish till they began to be marketed as pets by U.S. inventor Harold von Braunhut (d.2003), who also invented "X-Ray Specs" and popularized pet hermit crabs. He began marketing them in comic book advertisements in 1960 as "Instant Life," and changed the name to Sea Monkeys in 1964, so called for their long tails.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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