Dr. Subhendu Datta Sr. Scientist Kolkata, India The zooplnktons are exclusively of animal origin. In ponds, they mainly comprise protozoans, rotifers, cladocerans, copepods and their larval forms. In older classification, Protista, a kingdom into which all organisms of simple biological organization were classified. In modern classification, it has been replaced by the Protoctista. Protoctista is a kingdom consisting of unicellular or simple multicellular organisms that posses nuclei and cannot be classified as animals, plants or fungi. Protoctista includes protozoa, algae, dinoflagellate, oomycota and slime moulds. Common freshwater zooplanktons are described here with their identifying characters. Protozoa (Greek, Protos-first; zoon- animal) Characteristics: Single celled or in colonies of like cells (no tissues); symmetry-spherical, bilateral or none. Size usually microscopic. 30000 species present. Paramecium: Older classification New classification Kingdom-Protista Kingdom-Protoctista Phylum- Protozoa Phylum- Ciliophora ClassCiliata Class- Ciliata OrderHolotricha (or, Holotrichida) (rest is same) Family- Paramecidae GenusParamecium Microscopic, unicellular organisms, body slipper shaped, posterior end pointed, body covered with small cilia. Two contractile vacuoles, one in front and another in rear half of cell.




Older classification New classification Kingdom-Protista Kingdom-Protoctista Phylum- Protozoa Phylum- Rhizopoda ClassSarconida (Rhizopoda) ClassLobosa OrderAmoebaea (or, Amoebina) (rest is same) Family- Chaosidae, Mayorellidae, Hartmannellidae, Hyalodiscidae GenusAmoeba The amoeba appears to be the simplest possible living animals, an independent cell with nucleus and cytoplasm but no permanent organelles. Movement by forming and extending temporary fingerlike extensions or pseudopodia (pseudo-false; pods- foot). Contractile fluid filled vacuole and food vacuoles are present. Pseudopodia lobose, fingerlike.

Rotifera (Rotatoria- wheel animalcules) A phylum of microscopic (0.04 – 2.00 mm), pseudocoelomate aquatic animals characterized by a crown of cilia at the head end. These are used in locomotion and in some species for feeding the crown (corona), resemble a rotating wheel when the cilia are beating. Rotifers posses jaws and are covered with a layer of chitin (the lorica). There is no circulatory system and gas exchange occurs across the body surface. Some rotifers reproduce by parthenogenesis. On the anterior end is a retractile disc or corona (often double) rimmed with cilia. Most of the common aquatic bdelloid rotifers can usually be recognized at a glance under low power because of the characteristics “2-wheeled” appearance when swimming or feeding, or by the method of crawling on the substrate. Most of the bdelloids may crawl in inchworm or leech fusion on surfaces with the corona withdrawn. Classification: Old classification Phylum- Aschelminthes (Trochelminthes) Class- Rotatoria

New classification Phylum- Rotifera Class- Monogononta, (freshwater rotifers, 1 ovary, Bdelloidea- 2 ovaries) Seisonidae (marine rotifers) A. OrderPloima (i). FamilyBrachionidae Sub-family- Brachioninae Examples of genera: Keratella, Kellicottia, Brachionus etc. (ii). Family- Asplanchnidae (iii) Family- Synchaetidae Example of genera: Asplanchna Example of genera: Polyartha

B. Order- Flosculariaceae (i). Family- Testudinellidae Example of genera: Filinia 1. Keratella: Conical in shape, outer covering or lorica box-like with polygonal facets. Four to six spines at anterior margins while 1-2 at posterior (spine are symmetric although not necessarily equal). 2. Kellicottia: Body enclosed in a transparent box or lorica; anterior spines asymmetrically unequal in length. 2

3. Brachionus: Inhabit wide range of water bodies such as freshwater, backwater, saltlakes and brackishwater. Size 120-250µ. Body enclosed in dumble shaped lorica, even number (generally six) of spines projecting at anterior margin, foot annulated and retractile. 4. Asplanchna: Body large sac-like, lorica absent, spines absent, foot absent. 5. Filinia: Two to three very long movable appendages extends from anterior side, body shape indefinite, foot absent (appendages are setiform extensions of cuticle).

Kellicottia Keratella





Euchlanis Gastropus





Arthropoda With paired, joint appendages on a body nearly always segmented (segmentation is obscured in some crustacea, especially smaller ones). Crustacea (a sub-phylum under the phylum arthropoda): Two pairs of antennae, respiration by gills or body surface. The segmented body usually has a distinct head (bearing compound eyes, two pairs of antennae and various mouthparts), thorax and abdomen and is protected by a shell-like carapace. Each body segment may bear a pair of biramous appendages used for locomotion, as gills and for filtering food particales from the water. Appendages in the head region are modified to form jaws and in the abdominal region are modified to form jaws and in the abdominal region are often reduced or absent. Typically, the eggs hatch to produce a freeswimming nauplius larva. This develops either by a series of moults or undergoes metamorphosis to the adult form. 4

Nauplius larva: It has an unsegmented body with a single eye at the front (the nauplius eye), mandibles, antennae and three pairs of limbs. Free-swimming larvae of crustacea.

Cyclops Nauplii

Class- Copepoda: Usually 0.5 to 2 mm long and lack both a carapace and compound eyes. Five or six pairs of thoracic appendages, first 4 pairs being biramous, body small, cylindrical and divided into a metasome (sometime called cephalothorax. It is the body segment of copepods composed of the head and thorax) and a urosome (include the genital segment and succeeding abdominal segments). Parasitic forms are greatly modified. Example- Cyclops, Diaptomus, Canthocamptus. Class- Branchiopoda (phyllopods):- Many pairs of flattened appendages on thorax serving for both locomotion and respiration. Order: Cladocera (water fleas): Four to 6 pairs of thoracic appendages; body compressed, all except head usually enclosed within a bivalve carapace. Second antennae used for locomotion, single compound eye. Cyclops: PhylumArthropoda Sub-phylum (or, super-class)- Crustacea ClassCopepoda OrderCyclopodia FamilyCyclopoidae GenusCyclops Free living copepoda. Body elongated, head and thorax united, antennae shorter than cephalothorax, a pair of branched swimming feet in genital segment, female carries a pair egg sacs laterally. Abdomen without appendages. Freeliving, have single median eye. 5


Diaptomus: PhylumSub-phylumClassOrderFamilyGenus-

Arthropoda Crustacea Copepoda Calanoida Diaptomidae Diaptomus


Free living copepoda. Body long and pear shaped but without shell like covering. Four or 5 branched feet. One egg sac carried medially in case of female. Antennae as long as body (urosome), 23-25 segments. Female Diaptomus – Side view Canthocamptus: PhylumArthropoda Sub-phylumCrustacea ClassCopepoda OrderHarpacticoida FamilyCanthocamptidae GenusCanthocamptus Free living copepoda. Body linear, cylindrical, completely segmented, usually carried one egg sac laterally. Antenna smaller than cyclopoid, 8 segmented, Cephalothorax not sharply differtiated, last thoracic segment included in the urosome. Daphnia: PhylumArthropoda Canthocamptus Sub-phylumCrustacea ClassBranchiopoda OrderCladocera FamilyDaphnidae GenusDaphnia Daphnia species have a transparent carapace and a protruding head with a pair of highly branched antennae for swimming and a single median compound eye. No transverse suture on neck, shell with polygonal marks and with posterior sharp spine, 5 pairs of thoracic appendages form an efficient filter-feeding mechanism. Rostrum present, cervical sinus absent. 6



PhylumArthropoda Sub-phylumCrustacea ClassBranchiopoda OrderCladocera FamilyDaphnidae GenusCeriodaphnia Head without a beak, small and depressed, antennules small, first antenna short, valves oval or rounded ending in a sharp short dorsal spine. Rostrum absent, cervical spine present.




Arthropoda Crustacea Branchiopoda Cladocera Daphnidae Moina

Moina 7

Body heavy with rounded abdomen, head large, rounded in front with depression above eye. Antennules long and freely movable, abdominal setae very long.

Moinodaphnia: PhylumArthropoda Sub-phylumCrustacea ClassBranchiopoda OrderCladocera FamilyDaphnidae GenusMoinodaphnia Valves elliptical, head small, antennules on ventral surface of head, minute spines on ventral margins, sharp angle but no spine at junction of dorsal and ventral side.

Moina (Small)

Simocephalus – female & developing young

Simocephalus: PhylumSub-phylumClassOrderFamilyGenus-

Arthropoda Crustacea Branchiopoda Cladocera Daphnidae Simocephalus

Cervical sinus present, no crest. Head and rostrum small, valves large and somewhat quadrate and without posterior spine, markings of transverse lines over lorica. Bosmina: PhylumSub-phylumClassOrderFamilyGenusArthropoda Crustacea Branchiopoda Cladocera Bosminidae Bosmina

Simocephalus - mother and young


Antennules large, fixed to head and parallel. Post abdomen quadrate, 6 pairs of feet.

Bosmina – Female (Single)

Number of Bosmina Female


PhylumArthropoda Sub-phylumCrustacea ClassBranchiopoda OrderCladocera FamilyBosminidae (?) GenusMacrothrix Head large, its dorsal margin rounded over abruptly into anterior margin, first antennule long and freely moving, valves reticulate, 6 pairs of feet, abdominal setae present. Sida: PhylumArthropoda Sub-phylumCrustacea ClassBranchiopoda OrderCladocera Macrothrix FamilySididae GenusSida Head large and separated from the body by a depression, rostrum pointed and forms beak, a large cervical gland on head. First antennae one jointed with long terminal flagellum. Cervical sinus present, rostrum present dorsal ramus of antenna 3-jointed.



Diaphanosoma: PhylumArthropoda Sub-phylumCrustacea ClassBranchiopoda OrderCladocera FamilySididae GenusDiaphanosoma Head more depressed, dorsal more arched, rostrum absent, antennules small, attached to basal part with setae on each side and long slender flagellum. No anal spines on post abdomen, claws with 3 basal spines.


How to Identify a Zooplankton? To identify zooplankton requires use of a compound microscope. A dissecting microscope is also handy for sorting and counting. Specimens are mounted on glass slides and examined at 25-100X magnification. Comparison of your animal with an image, whether a photo (this web site) or line drawings (in taxonomic keys), is only a first step to identification. In order to identify your animal to species requires that you consult one or more of the above-cited sources, learn some anatomical terminology, and follow the keys. However, you can develop an eye for certain characteristics useful for discriminating species by examining your animal under the microscope (best) and by referring to photos in this web site. In particular, consider the following traits. What is the general body shape? (Try drawing the outline of the body.) What is the color? Opaque or translucent? Examine the relative length of appendages (e.g. antennae, legs) and setae (hair-like processes). Notice presence and relative size of


spines. For more-detailed descriptions of taxonomically-useful anatomy, please consult any good text book (Edmondson, 1959; Thorp and Covich, 1991). Also notice the size of your animal. Taxonomic keys often include questions about size. Determining size may seem tricky at first, but it is basically like using a ruler in everyday life. You need to know the scale of your ruler and then match it with items of interest. The standard ruler for a microscope is called an "ocular micrometer", which is fitted into the eyepiece of your microscope. In lieu of a micrometer, you can use the diameter of the field. Each of these methods requires that you first standardize your microscope against a ruler of known length; at low magnification, this standard could be a transparent office ruler, but at higher magnifications a stage micrometer is needed. Be aware that different microscopes are not exactly the same and the size goes down with increased magnification. For example, a microscope at 100X has a field diameter of about 1,500 µm, but at 250X this diameter is 450 µm.

Plankton Analysis
Information on the abundance and variations of natural fish food organisms is necessary for proper fishery management. Methods of plankton analysis include collection of plankton samples and analysis of the samples both quantitatively and qualitatively. A. Collection of samples In fish ponds plankton samples are generally collected using a truncated cone shaped net by filtering known volume of water (normally 50 or 100 1). The plankton sieving net is the common equipment used and is made of bolting silk cloth No. 25 (# 0.064 mm mesh size) for phytoplankton and No. 13 (# 0.112 mm mesh size) for zooplankton. The plankton cloth is cut based on the following calculations.

Using 1+X as radius, lay off the arc C on a piece of paper. At Centre h, lay off angle a by means of a protractor and draw lines he and hf. With x as radius, draw arc C of smaller circle.


Leaving 1 cm all along the sides, the cloth may be cut and stitched and fitted onto a brass frame having wooden handle.

For he and hf, mark points at 90 + 53.3 = 143.3° and 90 - 53.3 = 36.7° Usually about 50–100 1 of water is filtered through the plankton net and the sample is preserved in 5% formaldehyde. In the laboratory, the preserved plankton samples are analysed for quantitative and qualitative aspects.

B. Quantitative analysis of total plankton: Settling volume: Transfer the sample to a graduated cylinder or centrifuge tube and allow sufficient time (at least 6–8 hours) for plankton to settle at the bottom and record its volume and express the 12

volume as ml of plankton/1 or ml of plankton/m3. Centrifuge of the samples may also be resorted to, for quicker analysis. Wet weight: The plankton sample is filtered through bolting silk cloth, excess water is blotted out and the residual material is weighed. The wet weight is expressed as mg/1 or g/m3 water. Dry weight: After taking the wet weight, dry the plankton samples in a hot-air oven at 60–80°C for about six hours and take the weight on a sensitive balance. Express the weight as mg/1 or g/m3. Numerical count: Dilute the filtered sample to a known volume, say 10 ml, and take for counting under microscope. Shake well the diluted plankton sample and take one drop for counting on a glass slide and cover with a cover slip or take 1 ml of plankton suspension in the SedgewickRafter counting cell having a capacity of 1 ml with its area divided into 1 000 equal squares. Count the number of plankters under microscope with 10x and 10x lenses. If 100 squares at random are counted, and 100 1 water had been filtered, the number per litre will be given by X × 10 × 10÷100, where X is the number of plankters. While only the larger plankters are counted in the “survey count” method, all the plankters are counted in the “total count” method.

C. Qualitative analysis of plankters: The “differential count” method is usually followed which requires enumeration of some or all kinds of plankters, distinguishing them qualitatively into species or genera of phytoplankton and zooplankton. Shake well the diluted plankton sample and take 1 ml of plankton suspension in Sedgewick-Rafter counting cell or one drop on a glass slide and cover with cover slip and count following the method described for numerical count. Instead of counting the total number of plankton, count important groups of phytoplankton and zooplankton separately. Important groups of phytoplankton usually encountered are green algae (chlorophyceae), diatoms (Bacillariophyceae), blue-green algae (Cydnophyceae), dinoflagellates (Dinophyceae) and chrysomonads (Chrysophyceae). Zooplankton in ponds mainly comprise protozoans, rotifers, cladocerans, calanoid and cyclopoid copepods and their larval forms and occasionally nematodes and ostracods. Based upon the total counts, percentage composition of the different forms as well as phytoplankton and zooplankton as a whole may be calculated with their seasonal variations.


1. Edmondson, W.T. (ed.). 1959. Freshwater biology. Wiley. 2. Thorp, J.H., and A.P. Covich. (eds.). 1991. Ecology and classification of North American freshwater invertebrates. Academic Press, San Diego. 3. Kumar, D. 1992. Fish culture in undrainable ponds. A manual for extension. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 325. Rome, 239 p.


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