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Overview

Brief Summary

You often find shrimp and small crabs swimming in shallow water or on the beach. Larger crabs and lobsters are found in deeper water. These animals belong to the decapods. There are all kinds of decapods, some of which are considered a true delicacy, and not just by humans.
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Ecology

Associations

Known predators

Decapoda (other decapods) is prey of:
carnivores
Actinopterygii
Homo sapiens
Fundulus heteroclitus
Anatidae
Anguilliformes
Thunninae
Enhydra lutris
Octopoda
fungi
Collembola
benthic carnivores
Concholepas concholepas
Sicyases sanguineus
Larus dominicanus
Lontra felina
Bos taurus
Lepus californicus
Lepus townsendii
Spermophilus
high carnivores
Copepoda
Callinectes sapidus
Chondrichthyes
Scombridae
Carangidae
decomposers/microfauna
phytoplankton
organic stuff
Epinephelinae
Cephalopoda
Cheloniidae
Octopus
Decapoda
Stomatopoda
Anomura
Asteroidea
Gastropoda
Cnidaria
Crangon
Pandalidae
Ammodytes marinus
Clupea harengus
Alosa pseudoharengus
Scomber
Peprilus triacanthus
Actinonaias ellipsiformis
Tridonta arctica
Pollachius pollachius
Merluccius bilinearis
Urophycis regia
Urophycis tenuis
Urophycis chuss
Gadidae
Melanogrammus aeglefinus
Hemitripterus americanus
Myoxocephalus octodecemspinosus
Leucoraja erinacea
Leucoraja ocellata
Amblyraja radiata
Macrozoarces americanus
Brosme brosme
Anarhichas
Tautogolabrus adspersus
Triglidae
Sebastes marinus
Pleuronectes ferrugineus
Scophthalmus aquosus
Paralichthys dentatus
Glyptocephalus cynoglossus
Hippoglossina oblonga
Pleuronectes americanus
Hippoglossoides platessoides
Hippoglossus hippoglossus
Mustelus canis
Squalus acanthias
Lophius americanus
Cynoscion
Pomatomus saltatrix
Odontoceti


Based on studies in:
India, Cochin (Brackish water)
USA: Rhode Island (Coastal)
unknown (epipelagic zone, Tropical)
USA: Alaska, Aleutian Islands (Coastal)
Malaysia (Swamp)
Pacific: Bay of Panama (Littoral, Rocky shore)
USA: Florida, Everglades (Estuarine)
Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands shelf (Reef)
USA, Northeastern US contintental shelf (Coastal)
Russia (Agricultural)
Chile, central Chile (Littoral, Rocky shore)
USA: California, Cabrillo Point (Grassland)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Known prey organisms

Decapoda (other decapods) preys on:
basic food
detritus
benthic macrofauna
Amphipoda
Gadiformes
Dinoflagellata
Copepoda
Bivalvia
Nitella
Cryptocoryne
Blyxa
fungi
bacteria
algae
limpets
Thais triangularis
Thais melones
Nematoda
Crustacea
Polychaeta
Actinopterygii
Cumacea
Gambusia
Heterandria formosa
organic stuff
Decapoda
Stomatopoda
Anomura
Isopoda
Pycnogonidae
Tanaidae
Echinoidea
Gastropoda
Priapula
Ophiuroidea
Hemichordata
Holothuroidea
Echiuroidea
Sipunculidae
Ectoprocta
Cirripedia
Ascidia
Porifera
Cnidaria
Anthozoa
Engraulidae
Cephalopoda
Octopus
Asteroidea
Scaphopoda
Neoloricata
phytoplankton
Calanus
Pteropods
Crangon
Mysidae
Pandalidae
Gammaridae
Hyperiidae
Caprellidae
Ostreoida

Based on studies in:
India, Cochin (Brackish water)
USA: Rhode Island (Coastal)
USA: Alaska, Aleutian Islands (Coastal)
Malaysia (Swamp)
Pacific: Bay of Panama (Littoral, Rocky shore)
Chile, central Chile (Littoral, Rocky shore)
USA: Florida, Everglades (Estuarine)
USA, Northeastern US contintental shelf (Coastal)
Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands shelf (Reef)
unknown (epipelagic zone, Tropical)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Limbs sacrificed to escape predators: crabs
 

The claw and other limbs of a crab assist escape because they can be shed and regenerated.

   
  "In some invertebrates, autotomy can involve the loss of one or more legs. Crabs, for instance, are famous for sacrificing a claw if attacked by a predator, which they will then regrow. Indeed, they are willing to lose several of their limbs if necessary to avoid capture, though this willingness decreases markedly with each successive limb loss, for obvious reasons." (Shuker 2001:132)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
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Functional adaptation

Complex structures focus reflected light: lobster
 

The eye of a lobster focuses reflected light onto the retina using a perfect geometric configuration of square tubes.

   
  "instead of being lens cylinders with high refractive indices and a radial gradient, the [optical structures of shrimps and their relatives] were square structures of low refractive index, made of more or less homogeneous jelly…[Klaus Vogt in 1975] found that the jelly blobs were silvered, and they were not lenses at all, but mirror boxes (Fig. 8.13b)…it now appears that this reflecting system is the rule throughout the long-bodies [sic] decopod crustaceans--the shrimps, prawns, lobsters, crayfish, and the anomuran squat lobsters…In essence the reflecting superposition mechanism is extremely simple. In 1975 Vogt wrote: 'Rays from an object point entering through different facets are superimposed not by refracting systems as in other superposition eyes, but by a radial arrangement of orthogonal reflecting planes which are formed by the sides of the crystalline cones and the purine layers surrounding them.' As Fig. 8.14 shows, the mirrors direct light to a common focus. Mirrors are inverters, just like the telescopes in refracting superposition eyes (Fig. 8.3b), and so the ray-bending that the two kinds of optical element perform is almost identical. However, problems start to arise when one tries to work out what will happen to rays that are not in the idealized central plane shown in Fig. 8.14b. In general, rays in oblique planes will not encounter just one side of each mirror box, but two. What happens to such rays? Do they, like the singly reflected rays in Fig. 8.14, all reach a common focus?

"It turns out that the square arrangement of the facet array (almost unique to the decapod crustaceans) is crucial here. The principle is that of the 'corner reflector' [like those mirrors found in corners of stores]…A ray reflected from the two mirrors must be rotated through a total of two right angles, which means that it will return parallel to its original direction, no matter what angle the ray initially makes with the mirror pair. In other words, apart from a slight lateral displacement of the reflected ray, a corner mirror behaves as though it were a single mirror, but one that is always at right angles to the incoming ray. This property turns out to be very useful, for example in radar reflectors for ships and buoys, and it is also the property that makes reflecting superposition possible…

"Various other features of these eyes are important for their function. The mirror boxes must be the right depth, two to three times the width, so that most rays are reflected from two of the faces, but not more. Rays that pass straight through are intercepted by the unsilvered 'tail' of the mirror boxes, and Vogt (1980) showed that its refractive index decreases in such a way that appropriate critical angle reflexion continues to occur through the clear zone. Finally, there is the weak lens in the cornea of the crayfish. This lens 'pre-focuses' the light that enters the mirror box, thus given a narrower beam at the retina. All these features provide an image generally comparable in quality to that produced by refracting superposition optics (Bryceson and McIntyre), although it does seem that rays which make too many or too few reflections contribute to measurable stray light (glare) in the image of on the retina." (Land and Nilsson 2002:172-174)

  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:39938
Specimens with Sequences:33901
Specimens with Barcodes:29334
Species:4034
Species With Barcodes:3486
Public Records:28653
Public Species:2562
Public BINs:3677
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Barcode data

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Genomic DNA is available from 12 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris
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Genomic DNA is available from 1 specimen with morphological vouchers housed at Florida Museum of Natural History
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Genomic DNA is available from 15 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at British Antarctic Survey
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Genomic DNA is available from 3 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at British Antarctic Survey
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Genomic DNA is available from 4 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at British Antarctic Survey
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