The success of planktonic copepods in aquatic environments is dependent on efficient sensing of their three-dimensional surroundings. The detection of external cues is of importance for the localization of other organisms (prey, predators and mates), and is mediated by an array of mechano- and chemoreceptors located on the paired antennules (A1).
We investigated the morphology and distribution pattern of A1 sensory structures in the adult female of Clausocalanus furcatus (Copepoda: Calanoida) using different techniques (camera lucida, scanning and transmission electron microscopy and laser scanning confocal microscopy) each focusing on a specific aspect of the structures analysed. Integration of the information collected shows that C. furcatus possesses an array of mechanical, chemical and dual-function sensors over its A1, by which the copepod can detect different stimuli from the environment. Results are discussed in the light of the unique swimming behaviour displayed by this widespread epipelagic copepod.