Differences in susceptibility of five cladocerans to the neonicotinoid imidacloprid and the phenyl-pyrazole fipronil, which have been dominantly used in rice fields of Japan in recent years, were examined based on short-term (48-h), semi-static acute immobilization exposure tests. Additionally, we compared the species sensitivity distribution (SSD) patterns of both insecticides between two sets of species: the five tested cladocerans and all other aquatic organisms tested so far, using data from the ECOTOX database of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The sensitivity of the test species to either imidacloprid or fipronil was consistent, spanning similar orders of magnitude (100 times). At the genus level, sensitivities to both insecticides were in the following descending order: Ceriodaphnia > Moina > Daphnia. A positive relationship was found between body lengths of each species and the acute toxicity (EC(50)) of the insecticides, in particular fipronil. Differences in SSD patterns of imidacloprid were found between the species groups compared, indicating that test cladocerans are much less susceptible than other aquatic species including amphibians, crustaceans, fish, insects, mollusks and worms. However, the SSD patterns for fipronil indicate no difference in sensitivity between cladocerans tested and other aquatic organisms despite the greater exposure, which overestimates the results, of our semi-static tests. From these results, Ceriodaphnia sp. should be considered as more sensitive bioindicators (instead of the standard Daphnia magna) for ecotoxicological assessments of aquatic ecosystems. In addition, we propose that ecotoxicity data associated with differences in susceptibility among species should be investigated whenever pesticides have different physicochemical properties and mode of action.