Appendikularians of the Oikopleura family
(3-4 specie in Swedish waters)
Distribution in scandinavian waters
Maximum length: The body can be up to 0,26 cm, but is usually
smaller. Compare size with a hair.
Appearance: Appendikularians of the Oikopleura family
are usually uncoloured and transparent. The oval shaped body is small
and compact and the tail points forwards and downwards. The backbone
is long and thin.
Depth: From the surface to unknown depth.
Misc: Appendikularians of the Oikopleura family feed on
microscopic suspended particles which are captured with the aid of a
finely meshed net in a jelly-like casing. The creature sits inside the
casing and waves its tail, thus causing a water current to flow through
the holes in the net. Because the net is very fragile and easily gets
choked-up, it must often be abandoned, and a new net must be secreted.
In water samples that have been taken with a dip-net, whole casings
are never found.
Oikopleura-specie are found in large numbers and
found globaly. They are preyed upon by jellyfish,
arrow worms and
Both the creature and its abandoned casing can emit a
green blinking light.
Classification: Specie of the Oikopleura genus are part
of the appendikularian group under the chordates.
© Aquascope 2000 Tjärnö Marine Biological
Laboratory, Strömstad, Sweden
| Martin Larsvik
Loo | Helena