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[noo-ston, nyoo-] /ˈnu stɒn, ˈnyu-/
the aggregate of minute aquatic organisms that float or swim in the surface film of a body of water.
1925-30; < German; noun use of neuter of Greek neustós swimming, verbid of neîn to swim
Related forms
neustic, neustonic
[noo-ston-ik, nyoo-] /nuˈstɒn ɪk, nyu-/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for neuston
  • neuston net tows for larval fish will likely be added to the routine as equipment becomes available.
  • We also took plankton and neuston samples at each station, using bongo nets to sample at mid- to lower-water depths.
  • These included both neuston tows and vertical net tows.
  • Benthic invertebrates were collected with sediment corers and drift invertebrates were collected with neuston nets.
  • Plankton collections were made at the surface using a neuston net at depth and in mid-water using a bongo net.
  • The last gear deployed at each station was a neuston net, which samples the upper half-meter of the surface waters.
  • While within the neuston it provides numerous species of invertebrates and vertebrates a source of food, shelter, and substrate.
  • The last conditions are of note because oil, plankton, neuston and fish also collect in such convergence zones.
British Dictionary definitions for neuston


organisms, similar to plankton, that float on the surface film of open water
the ecosystem of the surface film of open water in which such organisms as copepods graze on tiny flagellates, bacteria, etc
Derived Forms
neustonic, adjective
Word Origin
C20: via German from Greek neustos swimming, from nein to swim
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Encyclopedia Article for neuston

group of organisms found on top of or attached to the underside of the surface film of water. The neuston includes insects such as whirligig beetles and water striders, some spiders and protozoans, and occasional worms, snails, insect larvae, and hydras. It is distinguished from the plankton, which only incidentally becomes associated with the surface film

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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