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 …

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 …

Barnacles (Crustacea: Cirripedia)

Cirripedes (barnacles) are known for their sessility – it’s their defining characteristic. They count as one of the first model organisms of evolutionary biology, having been comparatively studied by Darwin for over 8 years (one would think they’re his favourite animals – although this letter says otherwise!). The 4 resulting monographs (two for Recent, two for fossil) are still some of the best examples of systematic biology done right (cf. Newman, 1987), and his experience working on them was extremely influential in setting his ideas on adaptation straight; among other things, it led to him stressing the importance of embryology for identification of possible homologies, laying the foundation for Haeckel’s expansion of that idea.Continue reading