Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Mollusks, Crustaceans, and Related Species » Copepods: Copepoda - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Copepods And People, Conservation Status, No Common Name (oithona Plumifera): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET

Copepods: Copepoda - Copepods And People

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Copepods are extremely abundant. It is estimated that there are more individual copepods on Earth (1.37 × 1021) than there are insects. They are a vital link in ocean food chains. They eat floating plants, which are then eaten by all kinds of fish. Many of these fish are harvested from the sea and used as food for people. A few freshwater species that are found in drinking water can spread human parasites known as the guineaworm, Dracunculus mediensis. Sealice and other parasitic species are major pests in fish farms. A few species attack marine algae grown as food for people in parts of Asia. But not all of contacts with copepods are bad. Some species are important predators of mosquito larvae. These predatory copepods have been introduced to various parts of the world to stop the spread of deadly malaria, which is carried by the mosquito.


Approximately one-fifth of all copepods are parasites. Many species live in large numbers on the bodies of sharks. They attach themselves to the bodies of blues, hammerheads, threshers, and others. Some even live between the teeth of the great white shark. One species latches on to the eyes of the Greenland shark. Individual sharks can carry up to 100 of these crustaceans on their fins, 400 in their nose, and 4,000 in their gills.

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