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Introduction

Isopods are the most diverse in form and the most species-rich crustaceans of the superorder Peracarida (isopods, amphipods, tanaids, and their kin). Isopods are common inhabitants of nearly all environments, and they are unusual among the Crustacea for their ubiquity. The familiar sowbugs and pillbugs are members of this group, along with their marine relatives (gribbles, slatters, etc.). The Isopoda include approximatly 10,000 described species, in 10 suborders. These animals range in length from 0.5 mm to 500 mm (Bathynomus giganteus). Phylogenetic analyses and the fossil record (limited though it is) suggest that the group dates to at least the Carboniferous Period of the Paleozoic, approximately 300 million years ago.

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© R. Brusca 1997-01-01

Source: Tree of Life web project

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