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The crustaceans portal

Abludomelita obtusata.jpg

Crustaceans (Subphylum Crustacea) form a very large group of arthropods, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at 0.1 mm (0.004 in), to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span of up to 14 ft (4.3 m) and a mass of 44 lb (20 kg). Like other arthropods, crustaceans have an exoskeleton, which they moult in order to grow. They are distinguished from other groups of arthropods, such as insects, myriapods and chelicerates by the possession of biramous (two-parted) limbs, and by the nauplius form of the larvae. Most crustaceans are free-living aquatic animals, but some are terrestrial (e.g. woodlice), some are parasitic (e.g. fish lice, tongue worms) and some are sessile (e.g. barnacles). The group has an extensive fossil record, reaching back to the Cambrian, and includes living fossils such as Triops cancriformis, which has existed apparently unchanged since the Triassic period. More than 10 million tons of crustaceans are produced by fishery or farming for human consumption, the majority of it being shrimps and prawns. Krill and copepods are not as widely fished, but may be the animals with the greatest biomass on the planet, and form a vital part of the food chain.

Selected article

Cancer pagurus (Malacostraca: Decapoda: Cancridae)
Cancer pagurus, commonly known as the edible crab or brown crab, is a species of crab found in the North Sea, North Atlantic Ocean and perhaps in the Mediterranean Sea. It is a robust crab of a reddish-brown colour, having an oval carapace with a characteristic "pie crust" edge and black tips to the claws. A mature adult may have a carapace width of up to 25 cm (10 in) and weigh up to 3 kg (6.6 lb). C. pagurus is a nocturnal predator, targeting a range of molluscs and crustaceans. It is the subject of the largest crab fishery in Western Europe, centred around the coasts of the British Isles, with more than 60,000 tonnes caught annually.

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Chionoecetes bairdi (Decapoda: Oregoniidae)

Selected biography

Charles Chilton in c. 1895
Charles Chilton (1860–1929) was a New Zealand zoologist, the first rector to be appointed in Australasia, and the first person to be awarded a D.Sc. degree in New Zealand.

Chilton was born on September 27, 1860 at Little Marstone, Pencombe (near Leominster, Herefordshire, England) but emigrated with his family to New Zealand in 1862. They settled on a farm at East Eyreton, North Canterbury. He was troubled by his hips from an early age, and had his left leg amputated, using an artificial leg and a crutch thereafter. In 1881, he gained an M.A. with first class honours from Canterbury College, having been taught by Frederick Wollaston Hutton, who inspired him to take up biology, especially the study of crustaceans, which had been little studied in New Zealand up to that time.

Chilton's first scientific publication followed that same year, when he described three new species of crustacean (two crabs and one isopod) from Lyttelton Harbour and Lake Pupuke. He surprised the scientific world later that year by describing four species of amphipod and isopod from groundwaters at the family farm in Eyreton. He went on to discover the isopod Phreatoicus typicus in the same location, the first example ever described of the suborder Phreatoicidea, the "earliest derived isopod[s]".

Charles Chilton became rector of Christchurch University College in 1921, the first time such a post had been granted in Australia or New Zealand. Chilton died on October 25, 1929 of a sudden attack of pneumonia, before he could collect his life's work into a single monograph. He had published 130 papers on crustaceans, mostly amphipods, isopods and decapods, from all around the world, but especially from New Zealand, subterranean and sub-Antarctic waters.

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