A Note of Caution: When identifying
zooplankton, especially rotifers,
natural variability and variability due to preservation techniques
exists. If a specimen does not appear to fit a couplet, do not select
one just because the specimen is "close enough" as you may have a new or different
species. Please refer to the taxonomic references if
you think you have something not illustrated in the key.
This key was developed
with the purpose of identifying zooplankton species,
using images along with text descriptors to distinguish one species
from another. Each page presents multiple
choices that will eventually narrow the identification down to
To make a choice, simply click on the image that best resembles
Three ways to navigate
through this key:
1) Identify an unknown organism. Clicking on the Use
the Key button in the top banner will begin the identification
process from the beginning of this key.
2) Go to a species. Clicking on
the Species button
in the top banner will open a list of the species contained in the
key. Click on any of the species names to see pictures and descriptions
of that organism.
3) Go to a group. Clicking on the Groups button
in the top banner will open a list of the taxonomic groups included
in the key. Almost every group name has been linked to a specific
point in the key at which the organism has been identified as a member
of that group. Click on the group name to begin the key from that
NOTE: The Copepods do
not conform to the format of this key as well as other groups included. Due
to the biological variation between species of the same genus
in the Suborder Copepoda, clicking on the genus name might not
take you to a point where all subsequent pages are in the same
||Identification pages have been formatted in a different way so as to distinguish them from the "choice" pages. They contain pictures, taxonomic information, additional notes, video clips, and links for each species or genus.
||The key also features anatomy pages for reference. The anatomy pages contain general information regarding anatomical structures for each of the major groups in the key.