Definition of nekton in English:



mass nounZoology
  • Aquatic animals that are able to swim and move independently of water currents.

    Often contrasted with plankton
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The subsequent evolution of the nekton is largely determined by a parallel development of the diversity of its components, which together reflect the pattern of sea level change.’
    • ‘This may have made it the most easily accessible prey for predators in the nekton, such as fishes.’
    • ‘Plants and animals arrive as plankton, nekton (free-swimming), fouling organisms (attached inside and on the hulls, propellers, and intake systems of vessels), and benthos (bottom dwellers).’
    • ‘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).’


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