Antarctic krill for science
Time: 2023-03-03 08:06:54


I dont know if you have noticed that there are some creatures that obviously do not belong to a certain species, but their names are dyed with the color of this species? It is simply "not worthy of the name". For example, a whale is not a fish, and a seahorse is not a horse.

Speaking of this topic, a child is going to speak on behalf of their entire group, and it is krill.

What? According to this logic, is krill called shrimp but not shrimp? But in appearance, krill do look like shrimp, if not shrimp, what are they?

Don't worry, expert Zhou Meng, dean of the Ocean College of Shanghai Jiaotong University, told friends that in terms of classification, krill is not actually a shrimp, but a crustacean between zooplankton and swimming animals. There are 85 known species of krill in the world, and the largest production in China is Pacific krill in the Yellow Sea. However, the most famous one is Antarctic krill.

Antarctic krill, also known as giant krill or Antarctic krill, is a krill that lives in the Southern Ocean. They are extremely small in stature, about 1-2 cm long and weigh about 2 grams. Although the size is not dominant, but they have their own "sparkling points"! Antarctic krill have bioluminescent organs that produce light. These organs are distributed in different parts of the body and can emit yellow-green light every 2 to 3 seconds.

In addition to its own "sparkling points", the little Antarctic krill has many little secrets.

Although Antarctic krill look similar to shrimp, their shells are nearly transparent, and their esophagus can be seen to be green, which shows that phytoplankton is their main food, especially tiny diatoms (about 20 microns).

In addition, familiar friends say that they have "eyes higher than the top". This is not to criticize Antarctic krill for being too proud, but that people's eyes really grow on the top of their heads... Therefore, humpback whales always dive first before preying, and then attack from the bottom up. Who made Antarctic krill only look up but not down, thus exposing their blind spots.

Talking about this, some friends may be confused. Antarctic krill is so small, and humpback whales are so huge that they are not enough to fit their teeth. It is estimated that it will be difficult to see. Alas, this is caused by the habit of Antarctic krill living in groups...

Yes, Antarctic krill will not "fight alone", but live in groups, sometimes with a density of 10,000 to 30,000 per cubic meter. From a distance, I thought the sea water had changed color, but when I swam closer, it turned out to be a dense group of krill.


The storage capacity of krill in the Southern Ocean is very large, about 400-600 million tons. They are important species in the Antarctic ecosystem and provide an important food source for whales, seals, fur seals, penguins, albatrosses and more. Just like humpback whales, everyone eats one bite at a time, but it can eat hundreds of thousands of krill in one bite. The two rows of plate-shaped whiskers on its mouth are like a sieve, which can swallow sea water and krill together, and then When the mouth is closed, the seawater is discharged from the crevices, leaving only a nutritious and delicious krill meal.

However, such large animals "eat and drink in the sea" every day, can the krill hold up? According to estimates by biologists, if the annual catch of krill does not exceed 50 million tons, the ecological balance of the Southern Ocean will not be affected, and krill will grow and develop normally. That's right, humans have gradually discovered the advantages of krill. Since the last century, large-scale commercial fishing has begun, and Antarctic krill has been rationally used. It will become an inexhaustible "granary" for humans.

  This article is from Weihai Marine Monitoring and Disaster Reduction (ID: gh_d561f8c5865c)