Snapping Shrimp (Crustacea: Alpheidae)

The Alpheidae are the snapping shrimp, a caridean family consisting of 650+ species (Ahyong et al., 2011). Pictured above is Alpheus cedrici (Anker & De Grave, 2012). Known for their asymmetric chelae, where one claw becomes grossly enlarged to become the snapping claw (see beginning picture, compare the claws in …

Flatfish (Vertebrata: Pleuronectiformes)

Pleuronectiformes (flatfish) is an order composed of almost 800 species in 11 families (Eschemeyer & Fong, 2011), distributed cosmopolitanly in mostly marine waters, although some can also be found in freshwater. They’re most well-known from the edible flounders, turbots, halibuts, and soles, all of which have well-established aquaculture schemes. For …

Tongue Biters and Deep Sea Giants: The Cymothoida (Crustacea: Isopoda)

The above picture shows a member of the Cymothoida suborder of isopod (Wägele, 1989), containing over 2700 species according to the Smithsonian’s world list of isopods. Cymothoidae (the family, not the suborder; notice the endings!) are well-known across the internet for their wacky parasitic lifestyle (some call it gruesome). The …

Cixiidae (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha)

The Cixiidae Spinola 1839 are a cosmopolitan family of fulgoromorph (planthopper), comprising of over 1500 species in over 170 genera (Holzinger et al., 2002). Drawn above is Oteana (source: Hoch (2006)). It is accepted as being relatively basal in the Fulgoromorpha (Yeh & Yang, 1999), and the only thorough cladistic …

Xenoturbellida

Xenoturbellida is the name of a monogeneric phylum erected to accommodate Xenoturbella bocki and X. westbladi; pictured above is X. bocki (Telford, 2008). It’s of special interest for animal phylogeny because of its uncertain position among the basal bilaterians, if not within the deuterostomes. This post is an introduction to …

Belidae (Coleoptera: Curculionoidae)

The Belidae Schoenherr 1826 is one of the eight families of weevil, and contains some of the beetles that obligately pollinate zamiacean and stangeriacean cycads (Crowson, 1991), hence their common name, cycad weevils (I’ve also seen them referred to as “primitive weevils”, a rather inaccurate name). There are ~375 species …

Checkered Beetles (Coleoptera: Cleridae)

The Cleridae Latreille 1802, known commonly as ham beetles or checkered beetles, are a family of brightly-coloured and hairy predatory beetles, measuring between 3 and 12 mm. They’re easily recognisable by having a narrow pronotum (“neck”), with both the head and the wing bases being wider than it. Clerid larvae …