Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
 
 
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Krill

Thysanoessa spinifera

   

Fun Facts

    Krill are eaten by whales, seals, penguins, squid and fish.

    Not a true shrimp, krill are a type of euphausiid.

   
 

Description

 
  Krill is a type of crustacean that lives in the open ocean. There are many species of krill, but they all commonly occur in extremely dense concentrations. This species of krill occurs from southeast Alaska to northern Baja California mostly in waters less than 300 feet (90 meters) deep. The body is elongated and shrimp-like. Adults reach 3 cm in length. Krill feed primarily on phytoplankton, mostly diatoms. Some species of krill are omnivorous, although a few species are carnivorous, preying on small zooplankton and fish larvae. Many species are filter feeders, using their appendages to form very fine combs with which they use to filter the food from the water. Females carry several thousand eggs, which may account for as much as one third of the animal's body mass. Krill can have multiple broods in one season. Blue whales feed almost exclusively on krill and can eat over 4 tons a day. To learn more about krill and the open ocean habitat, visit the Open Ocean and Deep Sea Room at the Aquarium.  
   
 
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