Phylum Arthropoda

So far, we have discovered about 1.2 million different species in the Phylum Arthropoda!

Let’s check out the diversity of arthropods:

Subphylum Trilobitomorpha

This extinct subphylum flourished from around 540 million years ago to 280 million years ago.

Subphylum Chelicerata

They all mash up their food with dagger-like chelicerae which are literally “claw horns.”

Of the more than 1,000 species of scorpions worldwide, only 30 carry a toxin that may be fatal in humans.

These spiders are harmless to humans (except for a painful bite), and their mild venom is weaker than a typical bee's.

The medical profession uses an extract from the horseshoe crab's blue, copper-based blood called lysate to test the purity of medicines. Certain properties of the shell have also been used to speed blood clotting and to make absorbable sutures.

Here’s a video that talks about the role of horseshoe crabs in the biomedical industry:

Subphylum Crustacea

Pollicepes polymerus- These are found in the high intertidal zone on the California Coast. They filter small particles in the water for food.

Try to find the crab! It's a decorator crab which attaches anemones and coral polyps for camouflage.

Here’s a high-speed motion camera capture of a mantis shrimp strike. It begins at 2:14.

And these amazing crabs found in the Caribbean:

Subphylum Myriapoda

Lithobius forficatus , most commonly known as the brown centipede. This group has lost the compound eyes, and sometimes has no eyes altogether.

A Centipede vs. a Grasshopper Mouse:

Narceus americanus is a large North American millipede. When threatened, they sometimes curl up or release a noxious liquid that contains large amounts of benzoquinones which can cause dermatological burns. This fluid may irritate eyes or skin.

Subphylum Insecta

Beetles are in the order Coleoptera. About 40% of all described insect species are beetles (about 400,000 species), and new species are discovered frequently

Here’s an interesting TED talk about something that is kind of squeamish for Westerners…eating insects:


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2 Responses to Phylum Arthropoda

  1. Peter Emanuel says:

    Hey Tiff, this may seem like a dumb Question, but what are the characteristics of subphylum crustacea?

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