The Conquest of the Land by Crustacea



The ancestors of today’s terrestrial arthropods probably followed more than one route when they first conquered the land. Some may have ventured across sandy beaches or the rocky intertidal zone, others went through mangrove swamps or by way of fresh water streams and lakes to the moist humus and leaf litter of tropical rain forests. In contrast, the vertebrates are believed to have emigrated to land via oxygen-deficient tropical swamps. The study of extant Crustacea illustrates some of the ways in which ancestral arthropods may have become adapted to life on land, and it is possible to gain some idea of the course of evolution by correlating the adaptations of existing species with the various environments they inhabit.


Hermit Crab Decapod Crustacean Fiddler Crab Lethal Temperature Brood Pouch 
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Further Reading

  1. Bliss DE (1968) Transition from water to land in decapod crustaceans. Am Zool 8:355–392Google Scholar
  2. Bliss DE, Mantel LH (1968) Adaptations of crustaceans to land: a summary and analysis of new findings. Am Zool 8:673–685Google Scholar
  3. Cloudsley-Thompson JL (1977) The water and temperature relations of woodlice. Meadowfield Press, Shildon Co Durham (Patterns of Progress Zoology, Vol 8)Google Scholar
  4. Edney EB (1954) Woodlice and the land habitat. Biol Rev 29:185–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Edney EB (1960) Terrestrial adaptations. In: Waterman TH (ed) The physiology of Crustacea, vol 1. Acedemic Press, New York, pp 367–393Google Scholar
  6. Edney EB (1961) The water and heat relationships of fiddler crabs (Uca spp.). Trans R Soc S Afr 26:71–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Edney EB (1968) Transition from water to land in isopod crustaceans. Am Zool 8:309–326Google Scholar
  8. Edney EB (1977) Water balance in land arthropods. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York (Zoo-physiology and ecology, vol 9)Google Scholar
  9. Hurley DE (1968) Transition from water to land in amphipod crustaceans. Am Zool 8:327–353Google Scholar
  10. Little C (1983) The colonisation of land. Origins and adaptations of terrestrial animals. Cambridge Univ Press, Cambridge LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. Powers LW, Bliss DE (1983) Terrestrial adaptations. In: Vernberg FJ, Vernberg WB (eds) Environmental adaptations. The biology of Crustacea, vol 8. Academic Press, New York London, pp 271–333Google Scholar
  12. Smith G, Weldon WFT (1909) In: Harmer SF, Shipley AE (eds) Cambridge Natural History, vol 14. Macmillan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  13. Sutton SL, Holdich D (eds) (1984) The biology of terrestrial isopods. Clarendon Press, Oxford (Symposia of the Zoological Society of London No. 53)Google Scholar
  14. Størmer L (1979) Arthropods from the lower Devonian (lower Emsian) of Alken an der Mosel, Germany. Part 5. Myriapoda and additional forms, with general remarks on fauna and problems regarding invasion of land by arthropods Senckenberg lethaea 57:87–183Google Scholar
  15. Vandel A (1966) Sur l’éxistence d’Oniscoides très primitifs menant une vie aquatique et sur le polyphylétisme des Isopodes terrestres. Ann Speleol 20 (1965):489–511Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology (Medawar Building), University CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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