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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Isopoda
Suborder: Cymothoida
(unranked): Epicaridea
Latreille, 1831

Epicaridea is a former suborder of isopods, now treated as part of the suborder Cymothoida.[1] They are ectoparasites that inhabit other crustaceans, namely ostracods, copepods, barnacles and malacostracans. The suborder is found globally. About 704 species have been recorded. Epicaridea are generally less well researched than other isopods.[2]

There is a high degree of sexual dimorphism within the order. The female is commonly very asymmetrical, often losing segmentation. Two pairs of rudimentary antennae are carried on the head. Mouthparts show little development, with only mandibles and maxilliepeds present, sometimes with a second pair of rudimentary maxillae. Males are of smaller size than females and of different appearance. Development is through regressive metamorphosis, undergoing two or three larval stages.[3]


Eleven families are currently recognised within the suborder Epicaridea, divided into two superfamilies.[4]


  1. ^ Angelika Brandt & Gary C. B. Poore (2003). "Higher classification of the flabelliferan and related Isopoda based on a reappraisal of relationships". Invertebrate Systematics. 17 (6): 893–923. doi:10.1071/IS02032. 
  2. ^ Brian Morton (2003). Perspectives on Marine Environmental Change in Hong Kong and Southern China, 1977-2001. Hong Kong University Press. pp. 1–152. ISBN 962-209-641-7. 
  3. ^ Harriet Richardson (1905). A Monograph on the Isopods of North America. Government Printing Office. pp. 1–497. 
  4. ^ Joel W. Martin & George E. Davis (2001). An Updated Classification of the Recent Crustacea (PDF). Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. pp. 1–132. 

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