This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Word To Use Today: neuston

Houston hosts NASA's Johnson Space Center, Euston is the London terminus of the West Coast Mainline railway...

...but neuston?

Well, that's to do with travel, too, though on a rather smaller scale.

Neustons are creatures who live on, under, or near the surface of water.

That's a water strider.

There are two types of neustons: epineustons, which live on the surface of the water, and hyponeustons, which live immediately below it.

Neustons can be fish, beetles, protozoans, bacteria and spiders:

File:Fishing spider autotomy.jpg
Photo of fishing spider by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos. Look at the dents its feet are making in the surface of the water.

worms, snails, insect larvae, and hydras:

Photo by Josh. That's either a hydra, or a Martian murder-scene.
Don't think that the life of a neuston is dull, either. A neuston ecosystem is a whole world full of hunters making their busy way around snaffling up smaller creatures such as bacteria as a light but sustaining lunch.

I have to admit, though, that breakfast and dinner are probably rather similar.

So there we are: a whole new world. It's a thrillingly controversial one, too, because there are people out there who say that neustons that are big enough to see, or which float by being full of air, should really be called pleustons.

Gosh. Perhaps we'd all better have a cup of tea, now, to calm our over-excited nerves.

Word To Use Today: neuston. This word comes from the Greek word nein, to swim.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Ed. Someone should write a fantasy novel about it.
      Any offers? Come on, now, don't be shy...lady at the back? No?
      Ah well. Another idea goes back into the attic.