The quiescent Artemia cysts of seven geographical origins in China were examined with scanning and transmission electron microscopes. SEM observations on cysts of these Artemia strains showed that the surface topography of cyst shells could be categorized into 6 types: complete smooth surface; smooth surface with sparsely distributed glabrate humps; surface with densely arranged wart-like humps that are composed of packed minute tubercles; rugged surface, with densely arranged tubercles not piling up to form larger humps; shallow-pocked surface; and surface with numerous and densely spaced pore-like fossulae. Some of the patterns were strain specific [e.g., cysts from Ga Hai (GH) are characterized by having a surface with wart-like ornaments that are composed of packed minute tubercles, rugged surface is only found in Chengkou (CK) cysts], and apparent intrastrain variation of cyst surface topography was found in Xizang (XZ), Jingyu Hu, and Xie Chi (SIN) strains. TEM studies on the ultrastructure of cyst shells revealed an apparent divergence in the structure of outer cuticular membrane (OCM) among Artemia strains. In CK, Aqqikkol Hu (AQK), SIN, and GH strains, it is a normal, asymmetrical, and multi-layered structure similar to those described in previous works. In XZ, JYH, and Lagkor Co (LGC) strains, however, the OCM is not obviously multi-layered and the borderlines between OCM and adjacent layers seem indistinct. The present results suggest that the diversity of the surface topography of Artemia cysts may be an available tool for identifying certain Artemia strains as well as for tracking the origins of some Artemia cysts, and the hypoplastic OCM may be a characteristic of the species A. tibetiana.