10 Facts About Antarctic krill


Antarctic krill is a species of krill found in the Antarctic waters of the Southern Ocean.

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Approximately every 13 to 20 days, Antarctic krill shed their chitinous exoskeleton and leave it behind as exuvia.

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Antarctic krill directly ingest minute phytoplankton cells, which no other animal of krill size can do.

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The Antarctic krill is a very untidy feeder, and it often spits out aggregates of phytoplankton containing thousands of cells sticking together.

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Antarctic krill has a circumpolar distribution, being found throughout the Southern Ocean, and as far north as the Antarctic Convergence.

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Southern Ocean

Recent research suggests that Antarctic krill do not simply drift passively in these currents but actually modify them.

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Antarctic krill is the keystone species of the Antarctic ecosystem beyond the coastal shelf, and provides an important food source for whales, seals, squid, icefish, penguins, albatrosses and many other species of birds.

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The reason Antarctic krill are able to build up such a high biomass and production is that the waters around the icy Antarctic continent harbour one of the largest plankton assemblages in the world, possibly the largest.

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The processing of the Antarctic krill must be very rapid since the catch deteriorates within several hours.

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Fishing and potentially overfishing Antarctic krill is an issue of increasing concern.

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