Nekton vs Plankton vs Benthos


In identifying an organism, you should first determine its location and nature of its habitat. Let’s say for aquatic types, their habitat has a greater impact on their evolution. To describe each of these aquatic creatures, this article will explain the distinction among the nekton, plankton, and benthos.

Nekton Plankton Benthos
Where it they reside Water column Near water surface  Ocean floor
Examples Fish, sharks, turtles, dolphins ,whales Algae ,small animals Annelids, poriferans, crustaceans, mollusks

Benthonic fishes, echinoderms

Reached by sunlight Yes Yes No
Can swim Yes Yes Yes /No with the exception of nektobenthos animals

A nekton is a marine animal that propels around the water and usually can be a vertebrate or an invertebrate. A vertebrate is an animal that contains a spiral cord otherwise it is referred to as an invertebrate. Typical examples of these marine nekton creatures are squids, turtles, whales, fish, and sharks. When it comes to planktons, these marines floats on the surface of the water. They cannot swim under or through the water. Some examples of plankton consist of crabs, fish, microscopic foraminifera, dinoflagellates, larvae, and diatoms.

Lastly, there are livings animals ecologically present on the bottom of the seafloor whether attached on the seafloor itself or close to the ocean bed. These marines cannot swim under the water and they are often swimming on the land such as crustaceans, poriferans, echinoderms, annelids, and mollusks. Typical examples of this benthos are the star fish. Almost 80 % of their habitat is found on land and they stay less on the bodies of water.


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