The total weight of all Antarctic krill—a tiny yet mighty zooplankton--is greater than the cumulative weight of any other animal species on the planet except for humans. Krill provide 96% of the calories for seabirds and mammals in the Antarctic Peninsula, and the krill fishery is the largest in Antarctica, providing roughly 450,000 metric tons in 2020 alone.
But climate change and concentrated fishing are threatening krill, causing range shifts and reducing their availability to predators such as penguins. Despite their diminutive size (they top out at 2.5 inches long), the web of life in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean would collapse without them.
So, in celebration of the first World Krill Day, let’s test your knowledge of this vital species and find out what type of a krill connoisseur you are.