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Anaspidacea Facts, Habitat, Characteristics, Diet

Evolution and systematics

The order Anaspidacea incorporates 4 households which have generally been divided into two suborders, the Anaspidinea and Stygocaridinea. The household Anaspididae has been identified because the Triassic and reveals sturdy relationships to the extinct order Palaeocaridacea. Anaspidaceans are typically thought to be among the many most primitive of eumalacostracan crustaceans (that’s, members of the subclass Eumalacostraca), particularly as a result of their thoracic limbs possess each epipods and exopods. However, particulars of their circulatory system, foregut morphology, and different facets of their inside anatomy counsel that anaspidaceans are derived from ancestors main to the eucaridan decapods. The lack of a carapace has triggered debate about their actual placement amongst eumalacostracan crustaceans, however anaspidaceans are typically thought to be ancestral to not less than the road main to decapods, if not among the different eumalacostracan teams as properly.

Physical traits

The anaspidacean head doesn’t bear a carapace. Eyes could also be on stalks, sessile on the top, or absent altogether. The first thoracic somite is fused to the top whereas the remaining seven thoracic somites are free. The first thoracic appendage is modified as a maxilliped, that’s, it has a unique morphology from the remaining seven pairs of thoracic limbs, and is modified as a feeding construction. Thoracic limbs two by means of eight have the endopod developed into full strolling legs. On these appendages, the epipods, which emanate from the outside margin of the coxa, perform as flattened gills, and the exopods, which come from the idea, perform for water motion. Sometimes the exopods are usually not current. The pleopods could also be strongly developed, decreased, or absent. In the Anaspididae, the telson and uropods type a tail fan, however in different households, the uropods are elongate and the telson brief. Anaspidaceans could be up to 1.9 in (5 cm) in size, however some species are lower than 0.39 in (1 cm). Color is normally a uninteresting brown.


Anaspidaceans present a basic Gondwana relict distribution sample, being discovered solely in Tasmania, southeastern Australia, New Zealand, and southern South America. The household Anaspididae are identified solely from a small variety of localities in Tasmania and Victoria, Australia, whereas the Stygocarididae are extra extensively dispersed with species identified from Victoria, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina.


The bigger anaspidaceans are typically present in cool mountain streams, lakes, and swamps, whereas the smaller stygocaridineans are dwellers of the groundwater, residing among the many sand grains. The swamp-dwelling anaspidaceans dwell within the burrows of freshwater crayfish, whereas these present in lakes have a tendency to dwell within the algal macrophyte mats on the lake backside, and the stream-dwellers patrol over and amongst bigger rocks of the streambed.


Anaspidaceans are usually not good swimmers. Instead, they spend most of their time strolling over the substrate. The exopods of the thoracic legs are in almost fixed movement, most certainly circulating recent oxygen-bearing water previous the flap-like epipods. When strolling, the legs transfer in a metachronal sample, which continues to the pleopods. In reality, within the bigger species, the pleopods have the identical movement because the strolling legs, so that in the first place look the animal appears to have a steady set of legs all the best way to the posterior finish of the physique. When startled, anaspidaceans are able to an upward soar through which the physique is flexed about halfway alongside the again. On leisure, the animal settles to the underside and walks about as if nothing had occurred. There seems to be no territoriality in anaspidaceans. When two people meet, they could contact antennae, however as typically as not, one merely walks over the physique of the opposite.

Feeding ecology and weight-reduction plan

Anaspidaceans are generalist feeders, consuming natural detritus obtained from the substratum. The bigger species may be scavengers and seem able to scraping natural movies from the surfaces of small pebbles.

Reproductive biology

Mating has thus far not been noticed on this group. Eggs are laid freely on vegetation or stones and are usually not guarded or cared for. Hatching happens 30-60 weeks after the eggs are laid. The younger emerge as juveniles. The longer developmental durations are related to an over-wintering dormancy interval.

Conservation standing

Anaspidaceans are restricted of their distribution, however for essentially the most half happen in areas the place panorama improvement is minimal. As with many Gondwanan freshwater crustaceans, nonetheless, the introduction of trout into the rivers and streams by European colonizers has meant that some species survive solely within the small tributaries the place fishes can’t go. These crustaceans developed within the absence of freshwater fishes, in order that they don’t have any pure defenses in opposition to these launched predators. At current, not one of the anaspidaceans are thought-about to be threatened, and none are listed by the IUCN.