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Ostracods - clam shrimps

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Ostracods are a group of small crustaceans usually between 0.5 and 4 mm in length with a clam-shell like cover over their bodies. Swimming is done by sticking out the antennae and legs through the shell. The pelagic species are not common in shallow waters but are abundant at mid-ocean depths, where we also see their maximum diversity. In midwaters they can be second in abundance to the copepods.

All ostracods are scavengers, eating almost any dead material offered to them. They are in turn consumed by a wide variety of predators. Depsite their potential importance little is known about their biology and ecology of this group.

The ostracod fauna of the subarctic North Paciific is poorly known due to lack of attention by taxonomic experts. More than a dozen species have been identified in Seward Lien collections, soem of whaihc are likley undescibed species.

Page Author: Russ Hopcroft
Created: January 1, 2010