Measurements and analyses are presented of the backscattering of 420-kHz sound by 43 individual animals of representative zooplanktonic and micronektonic taxa. Direct measurements of an individual's target strength were made with a commercial dual-beam sonar system in an enclosure filled with filtered seawater deployed off a dock at Friday Harbor, Washington. The dependence of target stengths upon individual length, wet weight, and dry weight was investigated. In addition, the ``target strength'' and statistical variations of echo amplitude due to variations in shape and orientation of the organism were compared with acoustic scattering models involving different shapes (the general shapes of the sphere, and straight and uniformly bent finite cylinders were used along with attempts to take into account roughness). It was found that: (1) backscattering cross sections are proportional to volume of the organisms rather than area as would be predicted by a sphere scattering model, (2) mean target strength based on average backscattering crossection is best described by the bent cylinder model whose modal series solution is truncated, and (3) the fluctuations of the echo amplitudes are well described by the Rice probability density function whose shape parameter is related to the randomly rough straight cylinder model. These extensive studies showed conclusively that the elongated animals scattered sound more like elongated targets than spherical ones, thus demonstrating the need for models more sophisticated than the spherical ones routinely used to date. The data and model analyses provide a basis for devising future acoustical data acquisition and processing techniques for bioacoustical field studies.