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Unlike the helmet of Perseus, the helmet of the water flea (Daphnia

Summary: Unlike the helmet of Perseus, the
helmet of the water flea (Daphnia
spp.) does not make it invisible, but
it does confer some protection
against predators by making the fleas
harder to catch. Water fleas do not
necessarily begin life with a helmet
but can form one as a morphological
defence in response to chemicals
released by their predators. The
images above show three pairs of
water fleas from different species;
the non-helmeted morph is on the
left in each pair of fleas. Clockwise
from the top left these are: Daphnia
cucullata; the Australian species
Daphnia longicephala, whose huge
crests keep their predator, the
backswimmer, from getting a firm
grasp on them; and the Asian/African


Source: Agrawal, Anurag - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & Entomollogy, Cornell University


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology