Ostracods: Clam/Seed Shrimps

 

Ostracods are small crustaceans that occur in the plankton and benthos of both marine and freshwater habitats and even terrestrially within the water-pockets of plants. Most of the living benthic species range from less than 1 mm to less than 5 mm in size.

The body of ostracods is protected by a shell making them look like bivalves. The ostracod body is divided into a head and a thorax, but is not clearly segmented like in other crustaceans. The head bears strong antennae that are used for swimming.
Ostracods have a range of feeding modes: some are carnivores, others herbivores, scavengers and filter-feeders. Carnivorous species prey on other crustaceans, tiny gastropods or annelids.

Most of the 13,000 living species are benthic or epibenthic, with 248 botton-dwelling species known from the Arctic. Thousands more species are known from fossil records.

Page Author: Bodil Bluhm
Created: September 20, 2010

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