Tag Archive: crusteaceans

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda (crayfish, crabs, lobsters, prawns, and shrimp)
Infraorder: Caridea
Family: Hymenoceridae

Genus/species: Hymenocera picta

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Pinkish white body color with splashes of purple-edged pink spots. Stalked eyes and antennae flattened and leaf-shaped.

Length up to 5 cm (2 inches)


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Along the shores of East Africa, the Red Sea, to Indonesia, south to northern Australia and as far east as the Galapagos. Found on hard rocky or coral substrates, with lots of hiding places.


DIET IN THE WILD: It is a nocturnal feeder hunting in pairs for sea stars, using its claws to pry sea stars off coral reefs flipping them on their back. They then take them to their dwelling-place on the reef, where they consume their the tube feet of sea stars.

Harlequin Shrimps eating a Linka Seastar below

REMARKS: H. picta is known to feed on crown-of-thorns sea stars, so perhaps it should be considered a reef preservationists.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Hidden Reef

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3270612381/in/album-72157659465376212/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1K1

ADW animaldiversity.org/accounts/Hymenocera_picta/classificat…

EOL eol.org/pages/126747/details

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Cirripedi (barnacles)

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Free-living barnacles are attached to the substratum by cement glands that form the base of the first pair of antennae; in effect, the animal is fixed upside down by means of its forehead. Inside the carapace, the animal lies on its back, with its limbs projecting upwards. There are six pairs of thoracic limbs, referred to as “cirri”, which are feathery and very long, being used to filter food from the water and move it towards the mouth. They have no gills, absorbing oxygen from the water through their limbs and the inner membrane of the carapace. The excretory organs of barnacles are maxillary glands.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: They are also found in all the world’s oceans as hitchhikers on ships, driftwood, and other living animals such as whales, crabs, mollusks, and turtles.

DIET IN THE WILD: Rhythmic movement of the appendages captures small animals, organic fragments, and other suspended nutrients.

PREDATORS: the most common predators on barnacles are whelks. They are able to grind through the calcareous exoskeletons of barnacles and feed on the softer inside parts. Mussels also prey on barnacle larvae. Another predator on barnacles is the starfish species Pisaster ochraceus.

REPRODUCTION: Barnacles begin life as a free-swimming larva. Upon settling, the animal attaches to a hard substrate by its head end. Overlapping plates of calcium carbonate are then secreted externally and protect the animal from predators and water loss.

REMARKS: Various barnacle species create serious and expensive fouling problems on ship hulls and pilings. In two years, 10 tons of barnacles may attach to a large tanker, causing huge losses in fuel efficiency.

Since the intertidal zone periodically desiccates, barnacles are well adapted against water loss. Their calcite shells are impermeable, and they possess two plates which they can slide across their aperture when not feeding. These plates also protect against predation.



California Academy of Sciences Tidepool 2015

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/2630893/details

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/23190303024/in/album-72157660640336765/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1CW


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Stomatopoda
Family: Odontodactylidae

Genus/species: Odontodactylus scyllarus


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Beautifully colored in peacock colors of greens, blues, and reds. Has a green body, blue head, green antennal scales, red limbs. The body is elongated with a long, flattened , blue tail and ranges in size from 3–18 cm (1.2-7.0 in). Highly noticeable is the pair of clubbed-shaped, praying mantis-like claws..

DISTRIBUTION/HABITATS: Indo-Pacific Habitat: warm salt water and builds U-shaped burrows in gravel substrates. Depth ranges from 3-40 m (10-131 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds on other shrimp, worms, snails, crabs, mollusks. Lies in wait for prey in front of burrow, then swims out and quickly crushes prey with a strong, powerful smash. The claw moves so quickly it generates cavitation bubbles, which explode with a second powerful burst. The speed with which the claw moves through the water generates a force 100 times the shrimp’s body weight.

REMARKS: Large peacock mantis shrimp generate forces powerful enough to crush the shell of a large conch, and have been known in captivity to break the glass of their tanks!

The amazingly complex eyes of mantis shrimp detect 12 base colors (compared to our 3). They also can discern ultraviolet, infrared frequencies, and the polarization of light.


Color of Life note
Biofluorescence results from the absorption of electromagnetic radiation at one wavelength by an organism, followed by its reemission at a longer and lower energy wavelength, visually resulting in green, orange, and red emission coloration. Many species of mantis shrimp, for example, make use of fluorescent body parts when in threat display in order to intimidate or confuse either a predator or a competing male.
Ref: Color sources, California Academy of Sciences Docent program May 2015


Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Odontodactylus_scyllarus/

Plos one   http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0083259

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-We

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608602469734/

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda (invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton (external skeleton), a segmented body, and jointed appendages
Subphylum: Crustacea (crabslobsterscrayfishshrimpkrill and barnacles). Distinguished from other groups of arthropods, such as insectsmyriapods and chelicerates, by the possession of biramous (two-parted) limbs
Class: Malacostraca  (crabslobsterscrayfishshrimpkrillwoodlice, scuds (Amphipoda), mantis shrimp and less familiar animals)
Subclass: Eumalacostraca
Superorder: Eucarida  (decapodskrill and Amphionides)
Order: Decapoda (literally “ten-footed”)  Includes crayfishcrabslobstersprawns and shrimp.
Suborder: Pleocyemata;  members of the Reptantia (including crabs, lobsters, crayfish, and others)
Infraorder: Anomura
Superfamily: Paguroidea (hermit crabs)
Family: Lithodidae (stone crabs)

Genus/species: Cryptolithodes typicus

 GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The carapace covers the thoracic segments extending so far out covering the tips of the legs. The rostrum is widest at the base and narrower at the tip. Chelipeds are covered with rough tubercles. Carapace color is variable, from dark gray-blue to bright orange, white (especially in small individuals), or red (especially in males). The central part of the carapace is often a different color than the “wings”. Carapace width to 8 cm (3 inches).

Cryptolothodes sitchensis has a similar carapace but its rostrum is widest at the tip and its chelae are smooth.

 Butterfly Crab14453583299_3d6be76343_oDISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Marine from Amchitka Island, Alaska to Santa Rosa Island, CA. Found in Rocky banks, shell rubble near rocky cliffs in open coast or inland waters, Depth Range: Low intertidal to 45 m (150 feet).

Butterfly Crab14453618558_e56e0e248d_o

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds on bryozoans, coralline algae.


wallawalla.edu/academics/;  www.wallawalla.edu/academics/departments/biology/rosario/…

 eol eol.org/pages/342506/details

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 Photo vetted, Margarita Upton Biologist II Steinhart Aquarium California Academy of Sciences



Kingdom:  Animalia

Phylum:     Arthopoda

Class:          Malacostraca

Order:        Decapoda

Family:      Epialtidae

Genus/species;  Pugettia producta



 Mostly dark brown to green varying depending on the type of algae consumed. Like other members of its family, noted for its unique, elongated carapace with extended rostrum like an upside down shovel with the handle end towards its mouth. and four pairs of relatively long, slender walking legs. Because of these features, the family common name is “spider crabs.”

Most crabs in this family are called masking crabs; they attach fragments of shells and algae to their carapace for camouflage. P.producta, a large active crab, maintains a clean surface, perhaps for ease of movement.  It is a feisty animal; long legs are dextrous, and claws pinch hard.


 Alaska to Baja California in rocky intertidal in kelp beds and tidepools with abundant surfgrass or algae.  The crab uses the vegetation as protection from  sun and predators. Subtidal to 70 m (230 ft).


Mainly a nocturnal vegetarian feeding on bull kelp, sea lettuce, rockweed and other kelp. Occasionally will take barnacles, mussels, hydroids, and bryozoans in winter when vegetation is scarce.


Reproduction and Development: Females usually mate June to July, though can mate year round. Fertilized eggs develop for several months underneath the female’s abdomen.



Preyed upon by sculpins, gulls, cabezon, and sea otters among others.


Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157626486149324/

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