Carapace covering the head and all thoracic legs. Eight pairs of thoracic legs modified for swimming, each has two branches with long setae (hairs) along each branch and a frilly gill near the base.
Krill are pelagic filter feeders on minute phytoplankton, zooplankton and detritus suspended in the water. The feeding mechanism of krill is a basket formed by the feathery thoracic legs, the inner margins of which are provided with long stiff hairs called setae. Krill usually occur in dense swarms and in Australian waters rafts of Nyctiphanes australis, covering several hectares, may occur at the surface where they are fed upon by muttonbirds (Sooty Shearwaters). Sometimes millions of krill are washed ashore on beaches where they die to form a silvery tidemark. Larger krill are the prime source of food for baleen whales like the Humpback.
Pelagic to about 100 m depth.
Southern temperate oceans, including New Zealand to Snares Islands and south-eastern Australia.
Recorded in Australia
- DSE Advisory List : Not listed
- EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
- IUCN Red List : Not listed