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Acartia (Acartia) danae

Acartia (Acartia) danae Giesbrecht, 1889

Download a fact sheet for Acartia danae (PDF 464KB)

Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Maxillopoda
Subclass Copepoda
Order Calanoida
Family Acartiidae
Genus Acartia (Acartia)
Species danae


  • Male: 0.70–0.90 mm
  • Female: 1.00–1.30 mm

Distinguishing characteristics

  • Prosome terminates in a pair of sharp points
  • Form of P5
  • Spine on basal segment of A1
  • Fresh specimens usually transparent, with prominent eye-spot (red or black)


  • Right leg of P5, segment 1 with distal process
  • Urosome 5-segmented
  • A1 geniculate on right side only


  • A1 extends to the tip of the caudal rami
  • Spine on basal segment of A1
  • Prosome terminates in pair of symmetrical points
  • P5 exopod is a modified spine, serrated on both sides
  • Urosome has fine dorsal hairs on posterior border of first 2 somites
  • Genital somite longer than the following somite

(Bradford-Grieve 1999, Taw 1978)


  • Epipelagic
  • Coastal and oceanic
  • The distribution in Australian includes Moreton Bay, Western Port Bay, Swan River estuary, Melbourne, Port Hacking, Sydney, Tasmania (Razouls et al 2010)
  • World distribution: a cosmopolitan species found throughout tropical and subtropical regions of all oceans
  • One of two species of Acartia that primarily inhabit oceanic waters


  • Generally found in oceanic waters between 40º N and 40º S except in areas in the extreme north Pacific and south Pacific where warm equatorial waters extend beyond this range
  • Most abundant off the New South Wales coast between the months of March to June (Dakin and Colefax 1940)
  • Present between the months of December to June in Tasmania but most abundant between the months of February to May (unpublished data)
  • Acartia danae is considered an indicator species of changing or moving water currents
  • Related to warmer, less saline water in the Mediterranean (Fernandez de Puelles et. al. 2009) and in the Bay of Bengal (Rakhesh et. al. 2006)
  • Unusual amongst calanoids as it functions both as a suspension feeder and a raptorial carnivore


  • Bradford-Grieve, J. M., (1999) The marine fauna of New Zealand: pelagic calanoid copepoda: Bathypontiidae, Arietellidae, Augaptilidae, Heterorhabdidae, Lucicutiidae, Metridinidae, Phyllopodidae, Centropagidae, Pseudodiaptomidae, Temoridae, Candaciidae, Pontellidae, Sulcanidae, Acartiidae, Tortanidae. National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Dakin, W. J. & Colefax, A. N. 1940. The plankton of the Australian coastal waters off New South Wales, Volume 1, Australasian Medical Publishing Company, Limited.
  • Fernández de Puelles, M. L., Lopéz-Urrutia, Á., Morillas, A. & Molinero, J. C. 2009. Seasonal variability of copepod abundance in the Balearic region (Western Mediterranean) as an indicator of basin scale hydrological changes. Hydrobiologia, 617, 3-16.
  • Rakhesh, M., Raman, A. V. & Sudarsan, D. 2006. Discriminating zooplankton assemblages in neritic and oceanic waters: A case for the northeast coast of India, Bay of Bengal. Marine Environmental Research, 61, 93-109.
  • Razouls C., de Bovée F., Kouwenberg J. et Desreumaux N., 2005-2012. - Diversity and Geographic Distribution of Marine Planktonic Copepods. Available at 
    [Accessed March 06, 2013]
  • Taw, N. 1978. Some common components of the zooplankton of the southeastern coastal waters of Tasmania. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 112: 69-136.