Leptodora kindtii

leptodora big

Leptodora kindtii (The giant water flea)

Collected: May 2004 in Upper Chesapeake Bay off of Hart-Miller Island using an epibenthic sled fitted with a 365 micrometer mesh plankton net.

Notes: Leptodora is the largest known cladoceran. It dwarfs other marine and brackish species. This, transparent cladoceran is quite unlike most familiar water fleas. It is widespread in freshwater lakes in Europe and the U.S., but published reports from brackish waters are rare, perhaps due to its tendency to remain near the bottom during the day.

It is ofter abundant in the spring in low salinity (1-10 psu) tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay.

Biology and Ecology: Unlike other cladocerans, brood are released at the nauplius stage. A predator of other zooplankton, Leptodora is a favorite food of stripped bass up to 45 cm (18”) long in some Maryland reservoirs. Its role in estuarine food chains remains unstudied.

Baby lepto good2 BigABOVE. Young Leptodora look more like other water fleas. the large lateral appendages are just beginning to form.. Red color is Rose Bengal stain. These specimens are ~0.4 mm long.

Identification reference: Balcer, M.D. et al. 1984. Zooplankton of the Great Lakes. University of Wisconsin Press.

Web Links: On the Ontogeny of Leptodora kindtii (Crustacea, Branchiopoda, Cladocera), with Notes on the Phylogeny of the Cladocera (Journal Article)

Collected by Marilyn Yorgey, Goucher College