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The crustaceans portal

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Crustaceans (Subphylum Crustacea) form a very large group of arthropods, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at 0.1 mm (0.004 in), to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span of up to 14 ft (4.3 m) and a mass of 44 lb (20 kg). Like other arthropods, crustaceans have an exoskeleton, which they moult in order to grow. They are distinguished from other groups of arthropods, such as insects, myriapods and chelicerates by the possession of biramous (two-parted) limbs, and by the nauplius form of the larvae. Most crustaceans are free-living aquatic animals, but some are terrestrial (e.g. woodlice), some are parasitic (e.g. fish lice, tongue worms) and some are sessile (e.g. barnacles). The group has an extensive fossil record, reaching back to the Cambrian, and includes living fossils such as Triops cancriformis, which has existed apparently unchanged since the Triassic period. More than 10 million tons of crustaceans are produced by fishery or farming for human consumption, the majority of it being shrimps and prawns. Krill and copepods are not as widely fished, but may be the animals with the greatest biomass on the planet, and form a vital part of the food chain.

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Caprella mutica (Amphipoda: Caprellidae)
Caprella mutica, commonly known as the Japanese skeleton shrimp, is a species of skeleton shrimp. It is a relatively large caprellids, reaching a maximum length of 50 mm (2.0 in). The species is sexually dimorphic, with the males usually being much larger than the females. It is characterised by their "hairy" first and second thoracic segments and the rows of spines on their bodies. Body colour ranges from green to red to blue, depending on the environment. It is an omnivorous, highly adaptable, opportunistic feeder. In turn, it provides a valuable food source for fish, crabs, and other larger predators. C. mutica is usually found in dense colonies attached to submerged man-made structures, floating seaweed, and other organisms.

C. mutica is native to shallow protected bodies of water in the Sea of Japan. In as little as 40 years, it has become an invasive species in the North Atlantic, North Pacific, and along the coasts of New Zealand. It is believed to have been accidentally introduced to these areas through the global maritime traffic and aquaculture. Outside of its native range, C. mutica is often exclusively synanthropic, being found in large numbers in and around areas of human activity. Its ecological and economic impact as an invasive species is unknown, but it poses a serious threat to native populations of skeleton shrimp in the affected areas.

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Scyllarides latus (Decapoda: Scyllaridae) by Cornelius Sittardus

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Pierre André Latreille (November 20, 1762 – February 6, 1833) was a French zoologist, specialising in arthropods. Latreille was born illegitimately on November 29, 1762 in the town of Brive, then in the province of Limousin. Having trained as a Roman Catholic priest before the French Revolution, Latreille was imprisoned after the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, and only regained his freedom after recognising a rare species he found in the prison, Necrobia ruficollis.

He published his first important work in 1796 (Précis des caractères génériques des insectes), and was eventually employed by the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. His foresighted work on arthropod systematics and taxonomy, using all available characters and rejecting anthropocentrism and teleology, gained him respect and accolades. He was considered the foremost entomologist of his time, and was described by one of his pupils as "the prince of entomologists". He helped found the Société entomologique de France, acting as honorary president, and was honoured by having dozens of species and genera named after him.

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