1. Home
  2. Fun Animal Facts
  3. Did You Know? 15 Incredible Copepod Facts

Animals

Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Did You Know? 15 Incredible Copepod Facts

Copepod facts such as there are around 13000 species known of copepods found all over the earth

Copepods are small crustaceans found in all aquatic habitats around the world, including freshwater and saltwater. There are ten orders of copepods where some species are planktonic and live in the sea, while some are benthic living on the floor of the ocean. Many species of copepods are parasitic too. Three of the ten copepods order contains most of the free-living species. The copepods meaning states that they are part of the large class Copepoda and are small and microscopic aquatic crustaceans. There is no copepod scientific name as most species do not possess any names and consist of many different vernal pool species.

The copepod, the tiny aquatic crustacean, is very diverse and can be found abundant in the water community. It is a very small group of creatures that can be as small as 0.0078 in (0.2 mm) and as big in length up to 0.4 in (10 mm). They are also an immediate host of many animal and human parasites and are also known to consume mosquito larvae, which can be dangerous. As they can be found in many different habitats like oceans and fresh water, the chances of them being the hosts are high and they can spread numerous diseases. They act as parasites for almost all phylum of creatures living in the marine habitat.

For more relatable content, check out these  mantis shrimp facts and mayfly fun facts.

Copepod Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a copepod?

The copepod forms the group of tiny crustaceans and is found in all different water habitats of fresh water and saltwater.

What class of animal does a copepod belong to?

Copepods belong to the class of Hexanauplia and are part of the subclass Copepoda. In recent times, the class of these species is now directly considered as Copepoda. There are 13000 known species of copepods divided into different genus.

How many copepods are there in the world?

As these copepods are found all over the world, the population is not known. However, all species of the class of Copepoda are abundantly found all over the habitat they live in.

Where does a copepod live?

They are found in most parts of the world in both saltwater habitats like ocean and sea, and freshwater habitats like ponds, lakes, marshes.

What is a copepod's habitat?

Copepod habitat consists of ocean and lake, subterranean caves to leaf litter on the ground and rivers, streams. They are also found in swamps, bogs, springs, ephemeral ponds, leaf in wet forests, and damp moss. They are also seen in the underground in marine and freshwater caves, along with sinkholes. They are a free-living species found everywhere.

Who does a copepod live with?

Information on the company the copepods keep is not known. However, they are found in groups in the deep ocean as well as the freshwater habitats among the fish.

How long does a copepod live?

The copepod life cycle consists of 12 different stages starting from the larvae. However, the lifespan is not known.

How do they reproduce?

Some copepods release pheromones for adult males to follow, however, in some cases, adult females do not need a partner to reproduce. Females carry the cyst in sacs near the abdomen. When the cysts are laid, they fall to the bottom of the ocean or other water bodies. Some cysts hatch soon after and the young grow quickly. The first stage is larvae and when fully grown, they metamorphose into the adult form.

Calanus hyperboreus is a species of free-living copepods found in the Arctic and has their reproductive cycle adapted to the region. In winter, the male of this species fertilizes the female and dies. As there are different forms of stored reserves of fat deposits, females use these to stay alive in the winter.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status is of Least Concern.  

Copepod Fun Facts

What does a copepod look like?

Copepods possess an armored exoskeleton and the entire body is almost transparent. Copepods have two antennas with one longer than the other. They have four to six legs and a short tail. All species in different orders have different physical features.

Members of Cyclopoida, a group of copepods, are differentiated from other species by having the first antennae shorter than the second along with the length of the head and thorax.

The body of the Copepods always looks transparent. They have long antennae

How cute are they?

They are not considered cute.

How do they communicate?

Communication between the species has not been researched thoroughly. However, some of them are known to communicate via pheromones.

How big is a copepod?

Copepods grow up to a length of around 0.039-0.078 in (1-2 mm).

How fast can a copepod move?

The speed is not known.

How much does a copepod weigh?

The weight of these copepods is not known.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female of the copepods are not given different names.

What would you call a baby copepod?

Babies of copepods are called young.

What do they eat?

Copepods feed mostly on phytoplankton. Copepods also eat detritus, bacteria, and algae. Many herbivorous copepods store food energy in the form of oil droplets in the winter. In summer and spring, they feed on plankton blooms. Many are parasites and feed on the host's body.

Copepods are used as forms of food by many crustaceans such as krill found in freshwater and the ocean. Copepods are sources of food for small fishes like Banded Killifish, dragonet, and Alaska Pollock. Many copepod species are also included in the food chain of many planktivores, including some whales. One example of these whales is the critically endangered right whale from the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean which is known to feed only on tiny crustaceans (copepods). Copepods are an important part of the food chain in most parts of the marine world.

Are they poisonous?

They are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

These are microscopic creatures and cannot be kept as pets.

Did you know...

Copepods are considered an incredible source of nutrients, so keeping them in the tank for other fish species to feed on is a good thing.

There are 10 orders of copepods. Three among them are parasitic and the other three consist of most of the free-living species of copepods.

There are more than 150 known species of copepods in the Arctic and form the critical base of the food chain in the Arctic. Copepods are also considered to be the founders of life in the Arctic.

The biggest copepod is Pennella balaenopterae. This is a parasite to the fin whale fish and can grow up to the size of 12.6 in (32 cm).

Are copepods parasites?

There are around 13,000 species known of copepods. Among these, almost half are parasites and have modified bodies. These parasites attach themselves to small bony fishes, sharks, different invertebrates like molluscs, corals, and marine mammals.

Copepods are internal/external parasites on almost all phylum of animals in marine life.

Many copepods are parasites and feed on the host's body. Fish lice like the Siphonostomatoida is a common parasite for the fishes.

Are copepods harmful to humans?

Copepod size is usually very small and is either transparent or translucent. It is barely visible to the naked eyes of humans and poses no risk to us. Water contains these tiny crustaceans and is not regulated in any sense.

However, there are few cases in countries like Bangladesh and Peru where copepods are blamed for the spread of cholera through the water. There are also many copepods in the class of Copepoda that are known to be hosts to many infectious parasites for both humans and animals. This can lead to serious sickness in both humans and animals.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these house centipede facts and millipede facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable insects coloring pages.

Subscribe_Hero
Get The Kidadl Newsletter
1,000's of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

By joining Kidadl you agree to Kidadl’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and consent to receiving marketing communications from Kidadl.

EXPLORE KIDADL
In need of more inspiration?