(More than 722 specie in scandinavian waters)


Distribution in scandinavian waters

Maximum length: approx. 1,1 cm. Compare with a hair.
Appearance: Copepods are in many instances transparent eller semi-transparent with a yellow to red tone. However, certain specie are light brown or have a distinct blue green colour. Many of these creatures move with a characteristic "hop" through the water. Under magnification it is possible to observe a well developed nauplius eye on the upper part of the copepods anterior. The copepods anterior is built up of 6 relatively large ring segments, while the hind parts are composed of 5 narrow segments. The last hind segment has two clear outgrowths. Sometimes the different segments can grow into each other and thereby the limits of each segment can became indistinct. It is only the anterior of the body that has legs. The first pair of antennae (antennulae) are long.
Depth: Sea-level and to aleast 4 000 m.
Environment: Pelagic, but certain specie find it congenial close to or on the bottom.
Misc: Copepods eat most types of plankton: from single celled organisms to other copepods. Many copepods are an important part of the fishes diet. Development up to adulthood consists of 11 sloughings of the exoskeleton. After each sloughing the copepod gets larger, aswell as an increase in the number of the outgrowths on the hind. Several generations can arise within the same year. Many copepods spend the winter in deep water. During the summer the larger specie wander into deep water during the day and into shallower at night. Many copepods are parasites and have a particularly different appearance. Copepods exist globally, even in freshwater.
Classification: Copepods are part of the crustacea group under the arthropods. In the picture above a species of the group Calanus is portraited.

Copepods    Other names

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