Cladocerans are diverse and abundant in fresh waters, but only 8 species are marine. The arctic species are all characterized by prominent compound eyes. They swim by rowing their bodies with their large antennae. Although they are classically thought of has "filter-feeders", morphology and the large eye suggest they may be more omnivorous or predatory than originally believed.
Cladocerans are unique among the crustaceans in having "parthenogenesis", where females produce young without males. Young are incubated within the carapace and released as minatures of the adult, allowing rapid explosion of their populations. When conditions become unfavorable, males begin to appear and sexual reporduction occurs resulting in the production of resting eggs that fall to the sediments.
Four (4) species are known from the arctic.
Page Author: Russ Hopcroft
Created: January 13, 2008