Appendikularians of the Oikopleura family
(3-4 specie in Swedish waters)

Oikopleura-appendikularie 6,1 kB

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.
Environment: Pelagic.
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 fish.
    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.

Oikopleura     Other names

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Bo Johannesson | Martin Larsvik | Lars-Ove Loo | Helena Samuelsson