Overview

Brief Summary

Fossil species

recent & fossil

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The Ostracoda (ostracods) are a group of tiny bivalved  (i.e. with a hinged two-part shell) crustaceans that includes both freshwater and marine forms. They are abundant worldwide in virtually all types of aquatic environments and are known to depths of 7,000 m in the sea. Some are commensal on other crustaceans or on echinoderms. Ostracods are mostly between 0.1 and 2.0 mm, but a few are larger (Gigantocypris reaches 32 mm!). Body segmentation is reduced in ostracods relative to most other crustaceans. There are around 13,000 described extant species of ostracods and the group has a rich fossil record going back to the Ordovician (Brusca and Brusca 2003).  

Most ostracods are benthic crawlers or burrowers, but many are planktonic suspension-feeders and a few are terrestrial in moist habitats. One species (Sheina orri) is known to be parasitic on fish gills.

(Brusca and Brusca 2003)

Some ostracod species are sexual (producing young from fertilized eggs) and others are asexual (with their offspring developing from unfertlized eggs). Eggs typically are deposited and develop outside the body, but some (especially marine) species have "brood pouches" in which the eggs develop and from which newly hatched nauplii are released. Delorme (2001) provides a detailed account of ostracod biology, with a focus on the freshwater fauna of North America.

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Physical Description

Morphology

Sexual Dimorphism

Males slightly larger than females; male fifth limb palps enlarged for copulation; females have a protruding genital lobe.
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Source: Fairbairn, 2013

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Ecology

Associations

Animal / parasite / endoparasite
cystacanth of Neoechinorhynchus rutili endoparasitises Ostracoda

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Animal / predator
bladder of Utricularia vulgaris sens.lat. is predator of Ostracoda

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Known predators

Ostracoda (Ostracods) is prey of:
Fundulus heteroclitus
Oxyurichthyes lonchotus
Palaemonetes
Eleotris sandwicensis
Haplochromis guentheri
Haplochromis fenestratus
Bathyclarias worthingtoni
Labidochromis vellicans
Labidochromis caeruleus
Haplochromis euchilus
Haplochromis ornatus
Hydropsychidae
Neoperla spio
Barilius microcephalus
Melanochromis melanopterus
Varicorhinus nyasensis
Haplochromis johnstoni
Haplochromis dimidiatus
Engraulicypris sardella
Actinopterygii
Lethrinops brevis
Synodontis zambesensis
Lethrinops
Haplochromis chrysonotus
Coregonus albula
Coregonus lavaretus
Mysidacea
Ostracoda
Euphausiacea
Hyperiidea
Cyclopoida
Calanoida
Chaetognatha
Polychaeta
Haplochromis angustifrons
Cottus bairdii
Eucalia inconstans
Catostomus commersoni
sediment POC
Tadorna tadorna
Numenius arquatus
Pollachius virens
Pholis gunnellus
Zoarces viviparus
Gasterosteus aculeatus
Crangon crangon

Based on studies in:
USA: Rhode Island (Marine)
USA: Hawaii (Swamp)
Malawi, Lake Nyasa (Lake or pond)
Finland (Lake or pond, Littoral)
Uganda, Lake George (Lake or pond)
Pacific (Marine, Tropical)
Canada: Ontario, Mad River (River)
USA: Florida (Estuarine)
Scotland (Estuarine)
Canada: Ontario (River)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Known prey organisms

Ostracoda (Ostracods) preys on:
detritus
Aufwuchs
algae
phytoplankton
bacteria
protozoa
Mysidacea
Ostracoda
Euphausiacea
Hyperiidea
decomposer
Bacillariophyceae
Microfauna
POM

Based on studies in:
USA: Rhode Island (Marine)
Malawi, Lake Nyasa (Lake or pond)
Finland (Lake or pond, Littoral)
Pacific (Marine, Tropical)
Uganda, Lake George (Lake or pond)
Canada: Ontario, Mad River (River)
USA: Florida (Estuarine)
Scotland (Estuarine)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:4608
Specimens with Sequences:2731
Specimens with Barcodes:2332
Species:250
Species With Barcodes:220
Public Records:2370
Public Species:135
Public BINs:286
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Barcode data

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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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