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Segmented Bodies

Group 5: Arthropoda

Segmented Bodies

Group 5 - Arthropoda: Approximately 75-80% of all animals on earth are members of the phylum Arthropoda. While most arthropods are terrestrial insects and arachanids, about 85,000 species have adapted to ocean life.

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5 Fun Facts - Arthropoda

Fun Facts Marine Arthropoda

There are three major groups of marine arthropods: crustaceans, sea spiders and horseshoe crabs.

Horseshoe crabs: Have existed for over 450 million years and have changed very little over time. They are important to the biomedical industry due to a unique compound found in their blue blood, which coagulates around toxic bacteria. Scientists used horseshoe crab blood to develop a test used to check medical equipment and injectable medicines for contamination.

Reproduction: Most marine arthropods reproduce sexually, through external fertilization. The mating process of crustaceans can range from a few minutes to several days. Some crustaceans can reproduce asexually through parthenogenesis. Through this process, females produce viable eggs without the need for male fertilization.

Defense: The main form of defense is by their hard exoskeleton. The exoskeleton protects the animal from many predators and also helps it to retain water, preventing it from drying our quickly. Several crab species are known as decorator crabs. Hiding in plain sight, these animals will attach pieces of anemones, algae, seaweed, shells, gravel and other materials to their exoskeletons. They will then freeze in place when a predator is near, blending with their environment.

Roles: Marine arthropods are an important part of the food chain in many ways by filter feeding, nutrient recycling, eating algae and cleaning parasites, dead skin and mucus from other animals in a symbiotic cleaning process.

Cleaning stations: Help to maintain the balance of life on a reef. Fish, turtles, rays and more congregate at these locations to be thoroughly cleaned by shrimp, crabs and small fish.

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