Schmitt, Waldo L. Department of Zoology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
McLaughlin, Patsy A. Shannon Point Marine Center, Western Washington University, Anacortes, Washington.
Feldmann, Rodney M. Department of Geology, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio.
Last reviewed:December 2020
- Distribution and ecology
- General morphology
- Digestive system
- Circulatory system
- Respiratory system
- Nervous system
- Organs of special sense
- Glands and glandular systems
- Reproductive system
- Physiological mechanisms
- Molting (ecdysis)
- Autotomy and regeneration
- Geologic history
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
An extremely diverse, species-rich group of arthropods that have inhabited marine environments since the beginning of the Cambrian Period. Crustacea is a notable taxon of invertebrates. Common members of the Crustacea, that is, crustaceans, are shrimps, prawns, lobsters, and crabs (Fig. 1). In some ways, crustaceans may be thought of as the marine equivalents of insects. Within the marine realm, crustaceans occupy as varied a spectrum of habitats as insects inhabit on land. The Crustacea taxon is currently regarded as a subphylum in the monophyletic phylum Arthropoda. However, debate about this rank continues among carcinologists (zoologists who study crustaceans), and the hierarchical classification of the Crustacea continues to evolve. See also: Arthropoda; Biological classification; Cambrian
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