10 Fascinatingly Bizarre Crustaceans
Everyone is well acquainted with crustaceans: arthropods who dominate the seas as greatly as their insect sisters rule the property. But the recognizable crabs, lobsters, and shrimp are just several cases of this order’s vastness and diversity that is very varied. Crustaceans are available in almost every aquatic environment on earth, from the freezing Arctic to hazardous springs that were hostile, and contain a dizzying array of predators, scavengers, herbivores, and parasites.
Trees don’t seem like the typical diet of an ocean dweller, but enough lumber washes out to sea that several marine animals depend on it as a food source. Isopods of the family Limnoriidae are an example, having evolved to feed only on submerged wood. They’re generally called “gribbles,” an adorable name for something that could doom a boat. The small sea-termites are nearly as damaging as the well-known “shipworms.”
Gribbles have enjoyed a fresh upsurge of focus in recent months. An enzyme generated during their feeding process is extremely successful in turning wood into simple sugars — a procedure that could supply an efficient source of sustainable biofuel if we could learn to repeat it.