Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba), length – 6.4 cm (2.5 in); lifespan – 2-6 years in the wild. Krill are small crustaceans that look similar to shrimp, except that they live in the water column instead of the seafloor. There are more than 80 species that are found throughout the world’s oceans.
Krill forms the basis of the marine food web for whales, seabirds, fish, squid, seals, and sharks throughout the world’s oceans. Antarctic krill are the largest of all krill species at 2.5 inches long and found only in the Southern Ocean. Antarctic krill eat small plants like phytoplankton, as well as algae under the surface of sea ice. Antarctic Krill made up 95.5% of the Southern Ocean catch in 2021. Most krill caught by the fishery is turned into feed for aquaculture and krill oil. Image courtesy of NOAA.