Tiny Slimy Werewolves?! It’s the Werewolf Zooplankton!

One would hardly think to look to the ocean to find werewolves – and yet, there is an actual creature that lives in the water’s deep dark depths called the Werewolf Zooplankton!

OK, to be completely honest, werewolf zooplankton are very, very unlike werewolves of land – but despite that, they do have one big similarity with werewolves – they have a connection with the moon ! Specifically, werewolf zooplankton sync their activities with the full moon!

It is because of this relationship with the moon that  werewolf zooplankton are considered microscopic werewolves of the sea! 

A little more about the werewolf zooplankton:

Unlike land werewolves, werewolf zooplankton are tiny microscopic animals (called zooplankton) that live in the ocean.  What makes them so special, and what gives them the moniker “werewolf”, is their reliance on the moon.

Here is what happens:  zooplankton naturally do something called “diel vertical migration“.  Basically, this means that these organisms stay in the deep dark depths of the water during the daytime, and at night, they rise to the water’s surface to feed.  Before daylight comes, they then slip vertically back down into the darkness of the water. They have developed this process of staying hidden in the dark to avoid predators and being eaten.

How these zooplanktons got the nickame werewolf…

There are however parts of the world that sometimes do not have daylight (such as the polar winters in the arctic circle).  With the absence of daylight one might think that “diel vertical migration” might not happen.  In fact, scientists believed that with the absence of sunlight, the zooplankton probably went into hibernation.  To everyone’s surprise however, scientists have found that this in fact is not the case! Zooplankton in these polar winter areas have actually synced their cycle to the full moon!!  Meaning, during the full moon, when the light shines the brightest, they sync down into the depth of the ocean, mimicing how they treated the sun!  Because of this dependence upon the full moon, these creatures have been given the nickname “werewolf zooplankton”!.

Now, what exactly is a zooplankton?

A zooplankton is a marine animal that spends some part of its life (or even all of its life) as plankton.

So what is plankton?

Plankton is an organism that lives its life drifting through currents in a body of water (stream, ocean, sea, etc) – they are most often characterized by not being able to swim against a current, but rather drifting along. Most are so small as to be nearly microscopic, however there are some that are so large as to be seen very clearly in the water. Plankton can be either plant or animal (when they are animal they are called zooplankton!)

What is an example of a zooplankton?

Examples of zooplankton include jellyfish, clam shrimp, portuguese man o’war, and krill. Also, if you don’t think you’ll run across a jellyfish anytime soon, and want to actually see some plankton – next time you are near a body of water, get some water in a jar, and look closely at it. The really tiny almost translucent creatures you see swimming around are zooplankton!



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