Decapods

Which of the following animals is a type of decapod?

And the answer: Lobster.

Having five pairs of walking limbs gives the decapod its name, since the word means "10 legs" in Latin. The decapod group has some 10,000 species of crustaceans, including shrimp, lobsters, and crabs. These animals use a combination of walking and swimming to get around.

While there are thousands of species of crustaceans, both land and sea-dwelling, the type most consumed for food are "decapods," or "10 limbed" creatures. These include crabs, lobsters, prawns, shrimp and crayfish. Interestingly, decapods are some of the oldest creatures on the planet! These 10-legged creatures originated in the Late Ordovician period around 455 million years ago, with the Dendrobranchiata (prawns) being the first group to diverge.    

Decapods are primarily marine animals and are most abundant in warm, shallow tropical waters. Many types of decapod live in a mutually beneficial way with other species in the same environment. Because crabs and shrimp are primarily scavengers, they help keep their ecosystems clean by consuming animal wastes that wouldn't otherwise serve a purpose. Some shrimp even have symbiotic relationships with fish by removing parasites from their mouths and gills.

Decapods are incredibly diverse in composition and behavior. While hermit crabs seek out empty shells to use as a protective covering, while other crab species can be incredibly social and cooperative. Some types of crab even work together to provide food and protection for their families.

Learn more about crustaceans and other decapods below.


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