Crustacean filter feeders capture oil droplets with the use of their ramified appendages. These appendages behave as paddles or sieves, based on the system's Reynolds number. Here, we used high-speed videography, scanning electron microscopy and fluid mechanics to study the capturing mechanisms of crude oil droplets and the filtering appendage's wettability by two species of barnacles (Balanus glandula and Balanus crenatus) and of the freshwater cladoceran Daphnia magna. Our results show that barnacle appendages behave as paddles and capture droplets in their boundary layers at low Reynolds number. At high Reynolds number, droplets are most likely to be captured via direct interception. There is an intermediate range of Reynolds number where droplets can be captured by both mechanisms at the same time. Daphnia magna captures droplets in the boundary layers of the third and fourth pair of thoracic legs with a metachronal motion of the appendages. All studied surfaces were revealed to be highly lipophobic, demonstrating captured oil droplets with high contact angles. We also discuss implications of such capture mechanisms and wettability on potential ingestion of crude oil by filter feeders. These results further our understanding of the capture of crude oil by filter feeders, shedding light on the main entry point of oil in marine food webs.

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