The lowly krill averages only about two inches (five centimeters) in length, but it represents a giant-sized link in the global food chain. These small, shrimp-like crustaceans are essentially the fuel that runs the engine of the Earth’s marine ecosystems.
Krill feed on phytoplankton, microscopic, single-celled plants that drift near the ocean’s surface and live off carbon dioxide and the sun’s rays. They in turn are the main staple in the diets of literally hundreds of different animals, from fish, to birds, to baleen whales.
Simply put, without krill, most of the life forms in the Antarctic would disappear.
Average life span in the wild: 5 years or more
Size: 2.4 in (6 cm)
Weight: 0.035 oz (1 g)
Group name: Swarm
Did you know? Scientists estimate that the total weight of all the Antarctic krill is more than the total weight of all humans on Earth.
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