The Crustacean Collection of the Western Australian Museum comprises marine, freshwater and terrestrial animals, which total over 103,000 specimens.
Crustaceans are part of the phylum Arthropoda, which are invertebrates with a hard outer skeleton (cuticle) and jointed legs. This group includes animals such as spiders, scorpions, ticks, mites, centipedes, millipedes and of course crustaceans such as lobsters, crabs, prawns and barnacles.
As a group crustaceans show the greatest range in morphology (body form) known to exist in any group of animals or plants alive today.
They can be found in a wide variety of habitats including some of the most extreme environments such as the hydrothermal vents in the depths of the ocean.
There are over 50,000 known crustacean species and current studies suggest there are at least 200,000 more species yet to be discovered.
Well-known crustaceans include the prawns, crayfish and crabs but there are many other less familiar groups such as the sand fleas (amphipods), copepods and prawn killers (stomatopods).
Loans of the Western Australian Museum’s crustacean collections are available to national and international scientists conducting research on crustacean groups.
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