pteropod

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Pteropodclick for a larger image
Fig. 261 Pteropod . General morphology.

pteropod

or

sea butterfly

a small gastropod mollusc found in the plankton, with the foot modified into wing-like structures used for swimming. Pteropods are known as ‘sea butterflies’ because of the appearance given to them by these expansions of the foot.
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Through continuing observations and synthesis activities, it is becoming more apparent that the Arctic Ocean is on a dangerous ocean acidification trajectory that could lead to direct impacts on calcifying organisms, many of which are keystone species such as clams and pteropods.
The pteropods are like the canary in the coal mine.
All over the ocean, usually too small to see, flutter beautiful, nearly see-through creatures called pteropods, also known as sea butterflies.
Shells composed of a carbonate mineral called aragonite (such as the pteropod pictured above) are particularly sensitive to the decreasing pH levels in the water.
The most vulnerable animals are those, like pteropods, that build their shells entirely from aragonite, a form of calcium carbonate that is very sensitive to extra acidity.
Impact of ocean acidification and elevated temperatures on early juveniles of the polar shelled pteropods Limacina helicina: mortality, shell degradation, and shell growth.
Key links in fish food chains, including pteropods, sea cucumbers, and starfish are vulnerable to ocean acidification, as are other organisms that make shells and reef systems.
One consequence is a decrease in free carbonate ions--small molecules (untold billions of them could fit in one teaspoon) that are major building blocks for calcium-carbonate shells and skeletons of organisms such as clams, corals, and microscopic snails called pteropods.
Adding in species that eat the calcifiers, such as pink salmon fattening up at sea on swimming snails called pteropods, would boost the percentage.
57 Planktonic pteropods (sea butterflies), such as this individual of the genus Creseis, may be herbivorous or carnivorous.
In addition, large numbers of invertebrates occasionally also strand over periods of 1-5 d: marine pteropods (an estimated 2-5 individuals/m of shore), pelagic crabs (30- [greater than]200/m), and giant squid (Dosidicus gigas).