Home Life Trends Cladocera (Water fleas) Facts, Habitat, Reproduction

Cladocera (Water fleas) Facts, Habitat, Reproduction

Evolution and systematics

Cladocerans stay well-preserved in aquatic sediments as a result of their shells are composed of chitin, a white semitransparent attractive substance. Fossil proof means that the most important evolutionary growth of the cladocerans occurred by the late Paleozoic or early Mesozoic period, roughly 250 million years in the past. The taxonomy of the cladocerans, nonetheless, remains to be controversial. Most scientists acknowledge 4 suborders, 10-15 households, about 80 genera, and over 400 species.

Physical traits

Cladocerans are small animals which are typically formed like flat disks. Most vary in measurement from 0.008 to 0.1 in (0.2-three mm), though one species, Leptodora kindtii can develop as giant as 0.7 in (18 mm) in size. Their our bodies aren't clearly segmented like these of different crustaceans; nonetheless, three elements will be distinguished—head, thorax, and stomach. The head is usually dome-shaped with giant compound eyes and 5 pairs of appendages. Among the appendages are two pairs of antennae—a small pair that serves a sensory operate and a bigger pair that's used for swimming. The different three pairs of appendages operate in securing food. A skinny clear shell known as the carapace encloses the thorax and stomach of most cladocerans. The carapace could also be patterned; some species have stiff spines protruding from their shells. The thorax holds 4 to six pairs of leaflike legs which are used for gathering food, filtering water, or greedy mates throughout copulation. The cladoceran digestive tract is contained throughout the thorax and stomach. A pair of claws used for cleansing the thoracic legs might prolong from the tip of the carapace.


Cladocerans are distributed worldwide.


Most cladocerans are restricted to freshwater habitats, though eight species are present in marine waters. Cladocerans abound in lakes, ponds, slow-moving streams, and rivers. They are discovered from the Arctic to the Southern Ocean, from sea degree to alpine ponds. Some cladocerans are benthic (discovered on the underside of a lake, sea, or ocean); different species reside on sediment or in vegetation nearly wherever water is current, together with swamps, puddles, ditches, and floor water. One species even lives in water trapped by mosses residing on bushes in a Puerto Rican cloud forest.


Cladocerans migrate up and down within the water column on a each day cycle. They usually come to the floor at night time and transfer to decrease depths within the daytime. By in search of deeper waters in the course of the day, cladocerans are protected by the darkness from such visible predators as fishes; they then maximize progress by transferring to hotter floor waters at night time. Occasionally, giant swarms of cladocerans are noticed on the floor in the course of the day, usually as a response to gentle and the specter of predatory fishes. When cladocerans encounter predators, pelagic species typically swim away quickly. If caught by small predators, some cladocerans battle to break away; in the event that they escape, they cease transferring and sink deeper into the water column.

Feeding ecology and weight-reduction plan

Cladocerans use their thoracic legs to produce a continuing present of water that permits them to filter food particles. The food gadgets are collected in a groove on the base of their legs and combined with mucus to kind a bolus or mass that's moved ahead in direction of the mouth. Because most cladocerans are filter feeders, they eat natural detritus of every kind, together with algae, protozoans, and micro organism. Although cladocerans can not choose particular person food gadgets, they will resolve whether or not to settle for or reject the mass of food collected of their mucus; they might reject the bolus if it comprises poisonous algae or different undesirable particles. A couple of genera of cladocerans are predatory and able to seizing their prey, which consists primarily of different zooplankton. Because of their small measurement, cladocerans have all kinds of predators, together with fishes, amphibians, birds, predaceous zooplankton, and bugs.

Reproductive biology

Cladocerans can reproduce each ####ually and a####ually; the mode of copy is determined by environmental situations, however most species reproduce a####ually more often than not. Reproduction begins as water temperatures rise within the spring, however the inhabitants declines in the summertime due to overcrowding and competitors for food. A second peak of copy and inhabitants progress might happen in autumn. Cladoceran eggs develop in about two days within the feminine’s brood chamber, which is situated between the physique and the carapace. In most cladoceran species, the clutch measurement will increase with physique measurement, whereas the event time of the eggs is inversely associated to temperature. Some eggs produced a####ually turn into younger instantly. If situations are unfavorable, each ####uallyand a####ually-produced eggs might enter a resting state known as diapause, throughout which they're resistant to warmth, desiccation (drying out), and freezing. Most eggs turn into females. The manufacturing of male offspring is triggered by such environmental alerts as crowding, modifications in food concentrations, or lowering day size. During episodes of ####ual copy, males use their first antennae to find feminine mates. After discovering a receptive feminine, the male grasps the sting of her carapace. The feminine continues to swim, carrying the male along with her. After a while, the swimming ceases and each prolong their postabdominal area, presumably to enable the male to eject his sperm as shut to the feminine’s brood pouch as doable. Mating might take wherever between 15 minutes and several other hours to full.

Conservation standing

Cladocerans are widespread all through the world, and distributions of most species are secure or increasing, typically due to human actions that introduce non-native species to new areas. No species are thought of threatened, and none are listed by the IUCN.

Significance to people

Although cladocerans aren't acknowledged by most people, they're important for sustaining features that people worth in lots of aquatic ecosystems. In explicit, cladocerans are a vital hyperlink within the food chain that permits aquatic habitats to help useful species of fish.