Common name : Plankton
Scientific name : Copepoda
Native to : Oceans and freshwater worldwide
Interesting fact : The cysts produced by females can remain dormant for years and hatch when returned to water.
Copepods are the most abundant creatures living in water with over 13,000 known species. These small crustaceans are 1-2 mm long with teardrop shaped bodies, large antennae and armoured exoskeletons. With no gills, oxygen is directly absorbed into their bodies. They clean the water they live in by feeding on phytoplankton, organic detritus and the bacteria growing on them. They reproduce both by mating and by females producing cysts.