Water flea is a generic term for a number of small aquatic crustaceans characterised by their jumping or jerky mode of swimming, particularly cladocerans. The characteristic of the water flea is that the main part of the body is enclosed by a kind of shell. Most are between 0.1 mm and 3 mm in length. Most commonly, they will be species of Daphnia but a number of other genera are also commonly included, including Cyclops, Bosmina and Diaptomus. Water fleas are commonly sold as aquarium food since they are easy to culture and reproduce rapidly. Water fleas are most commonly found in fresh water of all descriptions although some species are found in brackish waters, and others are found in marine environments. There are probably many hundreds of different species covered by the term "water flea". They mostly eat small algae and microscopic phytoplankton but some are also grazers and detritus feeders.
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