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Title: Neuston  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: CalCOFI, Limnology, Macrobenthos, Ichthyoplankton, Aquatic science
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Two water striders, common neustons

Neuston is the collective term for the fish (see flying fish[1]), beetles (see whirligig beetle), protozoans, bacteria and spiders (see fishing spider and diving bell spider). Collembola in the genera Podura and Sminthurides are almost exclusively neustonic, while Hypogastrura species often aggregate on pond surfaces. A water strider Gerris is a common example of an insect that supports its weight on water's surface tension.

Other uses of the word

By extension, the term may also refer to non-organismal floating aggregations (see, e.g., Great Pacific Garbage Patch).

Contrasts with other aquatic life

Contrast the terms benthos (the organisms on the bottom of a body of water).

Neuston sometimes refers to only that subset of floating organisms that are microscopic[2] or those that rely on surface tension to float.[3] The term pleuston refers to superset including those organisms that float by buoyancy or are macroscopic.


The term neuston is rooted in the Greek adjective νευστόν neustón ("the swimming") derived from the verb νεῖν nein ("to swim"; aorist stem: neus-).[4]


  1. ^ The Sea Surface and Global Change by P. S. Liss, Robert A. Duce
  2. ^ P. S. Liss, W. George N. Slinn. Air-sea exchange of gases and particles. p. 148.  
  3. ^ James H. Thorp, Alan P. Covich. Ecology and classification of North American freshwater invertebrates. p. 34.  
  4. ^ νευστόν, νεῖν. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.

External links

  • "neuston - Britannica Online". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2007-11-13. 
  • "'"Dictionary entries for 'neuston. Retrieved 2007-11-13. 
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