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The ostracods are very abundant in both freshwater and marine environments. There are about 2500 living species. The larger marine species are also known as seed shrimps. The freshwater ostracods are generally smaller than a millimeter.
Fresh water ostracods
In freshwater ponds, they are usually found rushing around among the submerged plants at the shallow edges, and less found in the open waters. They swim smoothly with appendages expanded between the two halves of their carapace. When they are disturbed, they withdraw their limbs and clamp into the halves of their tiny shells. They are less attractive creatures than the other crustaceans. Due to the opaque and strongly patterned shell makes it difficult to see their internal structure. Young juvenile ostracods are the most helpful for microscopical examination, as their shells are more transparent than those of the adult's ostracods. Ostracods are very similar in appearance. It makes it less than easy for the non expert people to distinguish between one species from another or even from one genus to another.
Ostracoda is usually distinguished from other Crustacea by their compressed body, head, and seven thoracic limbs. The living ostracods are further classified by variations in their appendages and their soft parts. Although their well- preserved fossil with the soft parts are intact and very rare and therefore they are morphological
Diet: Most of all species of Ostracods feed on bits of plant materials, dead bodies, small marine fish, algae, and star fish.
Natural History :
Giant ostracods look like a shrimp from inside a seed pod. Ostracods are also called seed shrimp. Their bodies are usually hinged, like a clam's, and they can vanish into their pods by making their antennae visible. When the pod is open, their feather like antennae move out to feel and feed. The Giant ostracod swims with the help of there antennae like oars.
Facts about Giant ostracod
- The Giant ostracod is orange or red and has two large, mirrored eyes
- Giant ostracods are the most complex creature studied within the field of micropalaeontology
- An important distinguishing feature of Giant ostracods compared with other arthropods is the bilateral symmetry of their body form
- They are found in almost all aquatic regions including hot springs, caves, water table, semi-terrestrial environments in fresh and marine waters, within the water column as well as on the substrate.
- In fact they are found almost anywhere that's wet, even if only for a short period
Ostracods sense or feel their surroundings using sensilla that are hairs or bristles. They project via carapace through pore canals, at the margins. These are called marginal pore canals. Shallow water ostracods have eyes and the most important; their carapaces have clear eyespots and raised eye tubercles.
Ostracods have the ability to reproduce both sexually and asexually and this method is known as parthenogenesis. Ostracods usually show sexual dimorphism. They grow by mounting, which is up to nine growth stages, because of this sexual dimorphism and variations of ostracods good care should be taken with taxonomy, as single ostracods may have a series of juvenile stages.