Previously Unknown Water Fleas Found in Iceland Skip to content

Previously Unknown Water Fleas Found in Iceland

Employees of the Natural History Museum of Kópavogur recently found large (2.5-3 mm) water fleas in the Bakkatjörn pond in Seltjarnarnes, a neighboring community of Reykjavík, which have never been seen in Iceland before.

A lone swan on a frozen pond. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.

The pond was covered with a 10-15 cm thick layer of ice and the water temperature was around 0.5°C (33°F). The discovery was therefore a surprise as such organisms are usually in torpidity at this time of year, Morgunbladid.

The water fleas are probably planktonic crustaceans of the North American species Daphnia salina, which usually thrive in salty water.

The scientists are now trying to find out how the water fleas ended up in Bakkatjörn and how they can survive in such cold water. One theory is that they were carried with birds, which make a stopover in Iceland on the way to their breeding grounds in Canada.

Click here to see pictures of the water fleas on the website of the Natural History Museum of Kópavogur.

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