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Daphnia description: habitat, breeding and lifestyle of the crustacean

For many lovers of aquarium fish, daphnia is used as food for pets living in it. Its content can not be called simple, because it requires timely care with proper nutrition. Now you can buy food in specialized stores.

However, before it was bought on the market or prepared independently, it was caught in natural reservoirs of plankton crustaceans.

Daphnia has long been used as a quality food for aquarium fish

Daphnia is often associated with dry fish food. In fact, these are small crustaceans living in all standing continental bodies of water.

They belong to the genus planktonic crustaceans. Another common name is the water flea.

Branched crayfish, called daphnia, usually have two eyes on their heads. However, mature individuals can sometimes be distinguished by one double eye and close to it by an additional eye. That unpaired body is responsible for vision.

In the area of ​​the small head there are also two pairs of small antennas. The distant pair is larger in size, and its bristles are covered. With their easy movement, the crustaceans make a peculiar movement in the form of a jump.

Thanks to this feature, they were called water fleas.

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Daphnia body size is different because it depends on its type and can be from 2 to 6 mm. Such tiny sizes of a trunk do not allow to see its structure well.

How it looks can be viewed only under a microscope.

The little body of the crustacean is distinguished by an oval shape and is covered on both sides with a special frame. It serves as a protection for internal organs.

Front antennas on the head are the organ of smell. Due to the antennas daphnia moves on the water surface:

  • repels;
  • swims;
  • makes jumps.

Daphnia belongs to the genus planktonic crustaceans

The crustacean has thoracic legs, which have the ability to pass unicellular bacteria and algae through themselves. In this area are gill sacs, with which the water flea breathes. They are covered with many setae that serve as a kind of filter.

For 1 minute, the legs make up to half a thousand strokes.

The genus of these branched crustaceans has more than 150 species. In our area are often found:

  • Magna – the largest;
  • pulex – medium;
  • Moina – fine.

The stomach of any daphnia is always full of plant food, which is ideal for feeding aquarium fish. There are many nutrients in it that are valuable in the nutrition of the inhabitants of the aquarium.

Daphnias are commonly found in all standing water bodies, from the pond to the deep lake. These crustaceans are found even in Antarctica.

The main condition for daphnia habitat is still fresh water. with a minimum amount of soil particles.

When daphnids enter the groundwater, they filter the soil and gradually accumulate their intestines with algae, clogging it up. These crustaceans do not like polluted reservoirs, so they can be judged on the purity of the river, lake or pond.

On the head, in most species, the coracoid outgrowth is rostrum.

In reservoirs inhabited by daphnias, most of their life takes place in the water column. Some species can live on the bottom, eating there dead parts of plant food, the remains of invertebrates. They can also be found in other places – puddles, water pits.

Crustaceans react very sensitively to the lighting, and when it is too bright they go deep. Most daphnia lives for 110−150 days.

The life cycle of other species is much less and can be up to 22 days.

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