Behavior

Cladocerans migrate up and down in the water column on a daily cycle. They typically come to the surface at night and move to lower depths in the daytime. By seeking deeper waters during the day, cladocerans are protected by the darkness from such visual predators as fishes; they then maximize growth by moving to warmer surface waters at night. Occasionally, large swarms of cladocerans are observed at the surface during the day, typically as a response to light and the threat of predatory fishes. When cladocerans encounter predators, pelagic species often swim away rapidly. If caught by small

A water flea (Daphnia magna) giving birth. (Photo by M. I. Walker/Science Source/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

predators, some cladocerans fight to break free; if they escape, they stop moving and sink deeper into the water column.

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