Definition of nekton in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈnektən/
Pronunciation: /ˈnekˌtän/


Aquatic animals that are able to swim and move independently of water currents. Often contrasted with plankton.
Example sentences
  • On average, collections were made every 3-4 d for phytoplankton and zoo-plankton, 7 d for benthos, and 10-14 d for nekton (fish and swimming benthic invertebrates).
  • This may have made it the most easily accessible prey for predators in the nekton, such as fishes.
  • It is the region inhabited by plankton, which are minute organisms that drift or float at various depths in the water, and by nekton, which are free-swimming organisms.



Pronunciation: /nekˈtänik/
Example sentences
  • Sponges, corals, bryozoa, gastropods, bivalves, and ammonoid and belemnite cephalopods all flourished, the latter two groups becoming the dominant nektonic invertebrates for the rest of the Mesozoic.
  • In fact, cephalopods themselves were the only Ordovician nektonic durophagous predators.
  • This shows on one hand a strong correspondence of nektonic life with sea level changes and, on the other, the strong interrelationship (competitive and/or predatory) of the nektonic biota.


Late 19th century: via German from Greek nēkton, neuter of nēktos 'swimming', from nēkhein 'to swim'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: nek·ton

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