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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Appendicularian Oikopleura labradoriensis

Appendicularians are shaped like tiny tadpoles and live inside flimsy mucus dwellings that they build to trap plankton. Water enters the dwelling via two inlets covered by protective grids, passes through fine nets that trap any plankton in mucus, and passes out through an aperture. Appendicularians eat the plankton-loaded mucus and beats its tail to create water currents.

Appendicularian habitat mapzoom image
  • Subphylum Urochordata
  • Length About in (5 mm)
  • Depth Near surface
  • Habitat Open water
  • Distribution Cold waters of north Atlantic, north Pacific, and Arctic