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Portal:Arthropods

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Introduction

Extinct and modern arthropods

An arthropod (/ˈɑːrθrəpɒd/, from Greek ἄρθρον arthron, "joint" and πούς pous, "foot") is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton (external skeleton), a segmented body, and paired jointed appendages. Arthropods form the phylum Euarthropoda, which includes insects, arachnids, myriapods, and crustaceans. The term Arthropoda as originally proposed refers to a proposed grouping of Euarthropods and the phylum Onychophora. Arthropods are characterized by their jointed limbs and cuticle made of chitin, often mineralised with calcium carbonate. The arthropod body plan consists of segments, each with a pair of appendages. The rigid cuticle inhibits growth, so arthropods replace it periodically by moulting.

Their versatility has enabled them to become the most species-rich members of all ecological guilds in most environments. They have over a million described species, making up more than 80 per cent of all described living animal species, some of which, unlike most other animals, are very successful in dry environments.

Arthropods range in size from the microscopic crustacean Stygotantulus up to the Japanese spider crab. Arthropods' primary internal cavity is a hemocoel, which accommodates their internal organs, and through which their haemolymph – analogue of blood – circulates; they have open circulatory systems. Like their exteriors, the internal organs of arthropods are generally built of repeated segments. Their nervous system is "ladder-like", with paired ventral nerve cords running through all segments and forming paired ganglia in each segment.

Selected article

Two red wasps with yellow stripes on their abdomens, mating.
Sphecius grandis, also called the western cicada killer, is a colony-forming species of wasp in the genus Sphecius (cicada killer wasps). It shares the same nesting biology as its congener the eastern cicada killer, S. speciosus. S. grandis, like all other species in the genus, mainly provides cicadas for their offspring. It is colonial, mating brooding once a year, in July and early August. Adults are typically 3–5 cm (1.2–2.0 in) long, and amber-yellow with yellow rings on the abdomen.

Members of the genus Sphecius are not habitually aggressive and save their venom for cicadas which they paralyse and take back to their nests. The female catches around four or more cicadas for provisioning, places them in her brood cells and then proceeds to lay eggs in her cells. The species is endemic to Central America and the Western United States, and is found at a higher mean altitude than other species of Sphecius. The males emerge earlier than females, but generally die after only a couple of days.

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A pink segmented animal with extensive black shading with its head inside a snail's shell.

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Taxa

indicates an extinct taxon.

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Here are some tasks you can do:

  • Start a new article. Arthropods cover an huge range of taxa and other topics, so there will always be plenty of missing articles. Some which have been explicitly requested are listed here.
  • Clean up existing articles. Lists of articles needing cleanup are available either grouped by the work needed or ungrouped.
  • Expand an existing article. Existing articles are often incomplete and missing information on key aspects of the topic. It is particularly important that the most widely read articles be broad in their scope. Wikipedia:WikiProject Arthropods/Popular pages (updated monthly) shows the number of views each article gets, along with assessments of its quality and importance. Articles with higher importance ratings and greater numbers of views are the priority for article improvements, but almost all our articles would benefit from expansion. Stubs can be found in Category:Arthropod stubs and its subcategories.

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