Examples of Nekton Animals & Organisms
What are Nektons?
Nektons are living organisms that can swim and travel freely in the ocean. Nekton is a free-swimming group of water or marine species. Nekton or necton, derived from the Greek nekton, which means “to swim,” refers to marine species that are actively swimming in a body of water.
The concept was introduced by German biologist Ernst Haeckel to distinguish between active swimmers in a body of water and passive species pulled along by the current, known as plankton.
Examples of Nekton Animals
These species may be fish, crustaceans, or mollusks contained in an ocean or a lake. They appear to shift independently of the current. They are, in general, vertebrates, or animals with bones or cartilage, that are strong swimmers and larger than microbes.
Nektons are heterotrophic and come in various sizes, including fish, squid, octopus, sharks, and marine mammals.
The nekton species move similarly to plankton; however, the main difference is that creatures in nektons can move independently. Nekton species are often similar to plankton when they are small and evolve into nektons as they develop.
Individual species that makeup nektons are typically high on the food chain and humans are some of their biggest predators. Consider some of the most common marine life eaten by humans, such as crabs, shrimp, and tuna. These species are examples of nektons.
Many animals that humans consume that come from marine or lake environments are nektons, according to a general rule of thumb. Having said that, there are a few nekton species that are currently endangered.
Oceanic nekton is made up primarily of animals from three clades:
- Vertebrates; The significant proportion of the contribution is made by vertebrates, which are supported by either bones or cartilage.
- Mollusks, also categorized as nekton, are creatures such as squids and scallops.
- Crustaceans, also classified as nekton, are creatures such as lobsters and crabs.
Some species are planktonic in their early life stages but become nektonic as they develop and gain body size. A common example is the jellyfish medusa.
Sharks, dolphins, turtles, sea cows, crustaceans, shrimp, and even squid are examples of these species. These species are excellent swimmers who can swim against or against the current. In general, nekton species do not exist in deep water.
Temperature, salinity, nutrient availability, and sea bottom density all restrict the areal and vertical distributions of nektonic organisms.
With increasing depth in the ocean, the number of nektonic organisms and individuals decreases.