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Functional Morphology and Diversity$
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Les Watling and Martin Thiel

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780195398038

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195398038.001.0001

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Morphological Adaptations for Digging and Burrowing

Morphological Adaptations for Digging and Burrowing

(p.276) 10 Morphological Adaptations for Digging and Burrowing
Functional Morphology and Diversity

Zen Faulkes

Oxford University Press

Many crustaceans are highly adapted for digging (submerging into sand or mud) or burrowing (excavating a structure in sand or mud). Some of the mechanisms that crustaceans use for digging include shovels, fans, wedges, and pile drivers. Burrowing often requires some part of the body to act as a basket to hold sand while it is moved. The modular crustacean body plan has resulted in many different appendages being modified for digging and burrowing. Oxygen levels in sand and mud are low, requiring modifications for ventilation of the gills and respiration. Sand- or mud-dwelling crustaceans are often filter feeders or sediment feeders, and setae on or around the mouthparts play a critical role in trapping or filtering particles during feeding. The rigid exoskeleton of crustaceans stands in sharp contrast to other common digging species that have portions of the body that are soft and flexible, such as molluscs and worms.

Keywords:   Crustacea, crustaceans, digging, burrowing, sand, mud

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