Synidothea bicuspida

Isopods are crustaceans with seven pairs of fairly similar legs (their scientific name translates as "same-foot). They range in size from less than 1 mm to almost 50 cm, but are typically several centimeters in length. The are foundworld-wide inhabiting nearly all environments, including terrestrial ones. Familiar forms include pillbugs and sowbugs. Isopods occur from the intertidal down to the deep abyss and are mostly benthic.

As in many crustaceans, the body is separated into three regions, a head, a thorax and an abdominal region. Many species are dorso-ventrally flattened. Feeding habits are diverse and include herbivory, carnivory, and scavenging. As with other peracarids, isopods have direct development in the female brood pouch from which they are released as juveniles (manca).

About 4,500 living isopod species are marine, including a number of parasitic species, and just over 100 occur in the Arctic. In some areas such as the Antarctic isopods have a high level of endemism which could be related to their limited dispersal capacity related to their lack of a pelagic phase.


Page Author: Bodil Bluhm
Created: September 1, 2010

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