Wildlife of Antarctica

Antarctic Krill

The Main Source of Food in Antarctica

Krill (Euphausia superba) may seem small and look as if it can do nothing to the Antarctic environment, but krill is actually the main source of food in the Antarctic ecosystem. Krill are shrimp like creatures and can grow up to 4-5 cm in length. They can also live up to seven years. They have three pairs of legs and a hard exoskeleton making them crustaceans. Krill are a pinkish-red translucent color. There can be up to 30 000 krill individuals per cubic metre. Female Antarctic krill lay up to 10,000 eggs at a time, sometimes several times a season.

There are 85 known species of krill.

Diet

Antarctic krill are mainly herbivorous, feeding mostly on the phytoplankton and sometimes on zooplankton.

Predators

In Norwegian, the word “krill” means “whale food”, but many other sea creatures eat krill. Whales, penguins and seals are the largest predators of krill.
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