Antarctic krill Euphausia superba grazing on ice algae under the pack ice

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copyright Peter Marschall & Uwe Kils

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Name: Antarctic krill

Scientific name: Euphausia superba

Details: feeding in the lab on artificially grown ice algae

Status: grazing, view from the direction of the ice algae lawn

Dynamic: in the upper right corner an image with the scraping traces is inserted (at same magnification from 10 cm away). The animal moves in wide zig zack swings along the ice surface, harvesting the minute algae like a lawn mover. More than 80 % of the upgrowth is removed. At the end of the thoracopods the concentrated, scraped off food is visible as dark bands. On the next strokes this green roll of thousands of plankton cells will be transported to the mouth and crunched up in the gastric mill. Aquaria investigations on the POLARSTERN and in the ALFRED WEGENER INSTITUTE for POLAR RESEARCH showed that a letterrsize area can be swept clear every 20 minutes.

Special: largest biomass on globe (from all the species visible with the naked eye), central predator/prey  organism in the antarctic ecosystem. Form dense schools in summer (up to 20 000 individuals per cubic meter) around the ANTARCTIC, filter small plankton-organisms with filtering basket (mesh-openings down to 2 micron), in the winter they harvest ice algae from under the ice with rake-like structures (at the tip of the filtering-legs) and hide in ice-caves, fast swimmers with amazingly high escape capacity (over 50 cm per second) in spite of their cold environment (down to minus 1.7 degree Centigrade)


KILS U &  KLAGES N 1979 Der Krill. Naturwissenschaftliche Rundschau 10: 397402

KILS U 1982 Swimming behaviour, Swimming Performance and Energy Balance of Antarctic Krill Euphausia superba. BIOMASS Scientific Series 3, BIOMASS Research Series - Southern Ocean Ecosystems and their living resources, Editor Sayed El-Sayed, Texas A & M University, 122 p

KILS U 1983 Swimming and feeding of Antarctic Krill, Euphausia superba - some outstanding energetics and dynamics - some unique morphological details. In: Berichte zur Polarforschung, Alfred Wegener Institut fuer Polarforschung, Sonderheft 4 (1983) On the biology of Krill Euphausia superba, Proceedings of the Seminar and Report of Krill Ecology Group, Editor S. B. Schnack, pages 130 -155 and title page image

KILS U, & MARSCHALL P 1995 Der Krill, wie er schwimmt und frisst - neue Einsichten mit neuen Methoden (The antarctic krill - feeding and swimming performances - new insights with new methods) In Hempel I, Hempel G, Biologie der Polarmeere - Erlebnisse und Ergebnisse (Biology of the polar oceans) Fischer Jena - Stuttgart - New York, 201-207 (and images p 209-210)

MARSCHALL P 1988 The overwintering strategy of Antarctic krill under the pack ice of the Weddell Sea. Polar Biol 9: 129 - 135

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antarktischer krill wal wale filtrierer plankton nekton antarktis suedpolar suedpol suedpolarmeer meer ocean biomasse groesste walnahrung krebs crustacea anitbenthos abernten eisalgen icealgae eishoehlen