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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Antarctic Krill Euphausia superba

Antarctic krill are crustaceans that form an important part of the food chain in the Southern Ocean, where they congregate in dense masses.

Many seabirds, whales and fish rely on krill as an integral part of their diets. Worldwide, ocean wildlife is estimated to consume between 150 and 300 million metric tons of krill each year.

Wild salmon eat krill; it’s what makes their meat healthy and pink. The blue whale, the largest animal that has ever lived, feeds exclusively on tiny krill. Emperor penguins march hundreds of miles every year to eat Antarctic krill.

Threats to Antarctic Krill

Krill are harvested to feed farmed fish, removing a food source for the wild creatures that depend on them. The results could be catastrophic for the marine food web.

What Oceana Does to Protect Antarctic Krill

As a prey species, Antarctic krill are fundamental components of the larger ecosystem, both feeding on smaller organisms and acting as the food source for a wealth of other predators. Oceana works to protect Pacific krill and other important prey species.

Antarctic Krillzoom image
  • Subphylum Crustacea
  • Length Up to 2 in (5 cm)
  • Habitat Planktonic
  • Distribution Southern Ocean
Antarctic Krill habitat mapzoom image