Any of the 10,000 known species of crustaceans in the subclass Copepoda. Copepods are widely distributed and ecologically important, serving as food for many species of fish. Most species are free-living marine forms, found from the sea's surface to great depths. Some live in freshwater or in damp vegetation; others are parasites. Most species are 0.02–0.08 in. (0.5–2 mm) long. The largest species, a parasite of the fin whale, grows to a length of about 13 in. (32 cm). Unlike most crustaceans, copepods have no carapace. Nonparasitic forms feed on microscopic plants or animals or even on animals as large as themselves. Members of the genus Cyclops (order Cyclopoida) are called water fleas. See also guinea worm.
Copepods (Temora)—Douglas P. Wilson
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