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[ep-uh-faw-nuh] /ˈɛp əˌfɔ nə/
noun, plural epifaunas, epifaunae [ep-uh-faw-nee] /ˈɛp əˌfɔ ni/ (Show IPA). Ecology.
the aggregate of animals that live on the surface of the bottom of an ocean, river, or lake, or are attached to other aquatic organisms or submerged rocks.
Compare infauna.
Origin of epifauna
1910-15; epi- + fauna
Related forms
epifaunal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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epifauna in Science
Benthic animals that live on the surface of a substrate, such as rocks, pilings, marine vegetation, or the sea or lake floor itself. Epifauna may attach themselves to such surfaces or range freely over them, as by crawling or swimming. Mussels, crabs, starfish, and flounder are epifaunal animals. Compare infauna.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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