Copepod Ommatokoita elongates  

      A copepod ommatokoita elongate in the eye
      of a Greenlandic Shark.

      image courtesy of: Charlott the goblin girl

The copepod ommatokoita elongates are very tiny crustaceans being the size of a rice grain. There are estimated to be the most numerous multicellular animals on the earth! Copepods are considered to be the 'insects of the sea'.

They are 30 millimeters (1.2 in) long and are pinkish-white. The copepods produce a larva known as nauplius. At this stage they are free-living and swim in the water. This allows them to attach themselves to another species to survive off of.

They are parasites. As a parasite they are smaller organisms that harm larger organisms known as a host. The copepod ommatokoita elongate does not kill their host but lives off of them.

The copepod ommatokoita elongate lives up to the name of parasite, one who eats at another's table or one who lives at another's expense. The copepod ommatokoita elongate infects the eye of the Greenland shark and Pacific sleeper shark. They permanently attach themselves to the corneas of the shark's eye. The copepod will embed an anchoring device into the cornea and then feed off of it and rubs against it. This causes damage to the shark's eye and the shark become partially blind.

Source courtesy of: The Nature and Wildlife Guide to Greenland, Benny Gensbøl (2005) and