A suspension-feeding Octocoral, an Indo-Pacific Menella
Tuesday, 19 August 2014
Filter feeders are animals that consume by straining suspended matter and food particles from water, typically by passing the water over a specialised filtering structure.
A filter feeder, also known as a suspension feeder, is any animal that obtains food by filtering water for nutritious particles. The strategy of filtering small particulate matter out of the water has been occurring for over 400 million years, when suspension feeding was quite common in what is know as the Palaeozoic era.
Filter feeders range from the very small (krill) to the largest living animal, the blue whale which eats other filter feeders for food, namely zooplankton.
Generally the smallest of the Filter feeders are sea floor dwellers that soak up a mixture of mud and sand and a thin film of slime or ooze accumulates as a sort of pap at the interface of the water at the bottom, together with what other detritus might be mixed within it.