Most people are familiar with the factoid that ants are able to perform herculean feats of strength, lifting many times their own body weight, but how many people know that copepods give ants a run for their money not only in the population game, but also in sheer athleticism?
Photosynthesis, the process by which light is converted into chemical energy is usually thought to only take place in the realm of plants and algae, but some animals also make use of this life sustaining mechanism.
Clownfish larvae’s small mouths limit the type of food that they can ingest, and many novice breeders have lost their hatches by not having the right food available. During the first two weeks of their lives, clownfish larvae will eat rotifers; typically measuring 90-160 µm, they are the perfect size to provide a meal.
Mandarins are considered difficult to keep in captivity because of their specific feeding habits. In the wild they will continuously feed during the day, pecking at prey found on the substrate in their territory, which consists mainly of copepods.
The bodies of copepods can be extremely different during their different stages of life as they change from nauplius to copepodid to adult. The body structure of copepods also has large variation between species, but in general they share physical traits that unite them as a group and visually mark them as copepods.
So you know that copepods make a healthy meal for the inhabitants of your reef, but what else do they do? It turns out that copepods are more important to the planet than you might think, and have more use to people beyond their inclusion in aquariums.