These tiny animals (less than 0.5mm) are parasites, usually of deep water crustaceans. They have lost many of the complex crustacean morphology and some have very simple, sac-like bodies (Tudge, 2000). They have been known to infest copepods, isopods, tanaids, amphipods and ostracods (Boxshall & Lincoln, 1983).
One species, Tantulacus dieteri, at 85 microns in length, could be the smallest living arthropod (Mohrbeck et al, 2010).
- Boxshall, G. & Roger J. Lincoln (1983). "Tantulocarida, a new class of Crustacea ectoparasitic on other crustaceans". Journal of Crustacean Biology 3 (1): 1–16.
- Mohrbeck, I., Pedro Martínez Arbizu & Thomas Glatzel (2010). "Tantulocarida Crustacea) from the Southern Ocean deep sea, and the description of three new species of Tantulacus Huys, Andersen & Kristensen, 1992". Systematic Parasitology 77 (2): 131–151.
- Tudge, C. The Variety of Life: A survey and celebration of all the creatures that have ever lived. Oxford University Press, 2000. Oxford, United Kingdom.