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noun, plural ep·i·fau·nas, ep·i·fau·nae [ep-uh-faw-nee] /ˈɛp əˌfɔ ni/ Ecology.
  1. 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 formsep·i·fau·nal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
epifauna in Science


  1. 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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