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Copepods (Calanoida)

Taxonomic group

Order: Calanoida

Diagnostic features

Copepods are small (less than 3mm long) swimming crustaceans with an almost teardrop (or short comet) shape. Their swimming motion is often more sustained and less jerky than the cladocerans that often share the same habitats. Calanoid copepods have antennae that are longer than the length of the body.

Typical habitats

Calanoids are primarily inhabitants of ponds and wetlands rather than streams. We have found them in stormwater treatment ponds.


Calanoids are filter feeders, using long filtering hairs on their mouthparts to catch planktonic algae and bacteria.

Indicator value

  • Hard bottom: 5
  • Soft bottom: 2.4

The tolerance values (ranging from 0 to 10) give an indication of which are the sensitive taxa (values of 8 or more) and which are the tolerant taxa (values of 3 or less). For more information see: Indicator species

Calanoids are associated with pond and wetland habitats. Their occurrence in stormwater ponds suggests some species can tolerate poor water quality conditions. The Order Copepoda has been assigned tolerance values of 5 (hard bottom sites) and 2.4 (soft bottom sites).