Cyclops or Copepod illustration

The copepod is a small crustacean that looks like a swimming apostrophe mark ('). It is sometimes called a cyclops because its single eyespot reminds people of the one-eyed monster in Greek mythology. The quiet waters of ponds, lakes and rivers are their home since faster waters would wash them away. A copepod clings onto plants and feeds on algae, bacteria and organic debris that passes its way. When a female has egg sacs on the sides of its tail, it looks something like a teeny, tiny Mickey Mouse balloon. Copepods are part of the many microscopic plants and animals that altogether are called plankton. Plankton are important links in the food chain. They eat algae and are food for insects and small fishes. Other common plankton include water fleas, seed shrimp and clam shrimp.