Malacostraca

Malacostraca (from New Latin; from Ancient Greek μαλακός (malakós) 'soft', and όστρακον (óstrakon) 'shell') is the largest of the six classes of crustaceans, containing about 40,000 living species, divided among 16 orders. Its members, the malacostracans, display a great diversity of body forms and include crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill, prawns, woodlice, amphipods, mantis shrimp, tongue-eating lice and many other less familiar animals. They are abundant in all marine environments and have colonised freshwater and terrestrial habitats. They are segmented animals, united by a common body plan comprising 20 body segments (rarely 21), and divided into a head, thorax, and abdomen.

Malacostraca
Temporal range: Cambrian–Recent
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Superclass: Multicrustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Latreille, 1802
Subclasses

See text for orders.


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