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Arthropods

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Skeleton Shrimp
Borut Furlan/WaterFrame/Getty Images
Arthropods are animals in the Phylum Arthropoda, a very diverse group of organisms that includes insects, crabs, lobsters, scorpions and centipedes.

Characteristics of Arthropods:

All arthropods have:

  • Jointed legs, making them quick-moving organisms
  • A segmented body
  • A hard exoskeleton made of a strong polysaccharide called chitin. This hard "shell" helps protect the animal and retains moisture.

Classification:

Habitat and Distribution:

Arthropods are found in habitats all over the world - dry land, fresh water, and salt water. In the ocean, they can live from coastal habitats like sandy beaches and intertidal areas all the way to the deep sea.

Reproduction:

Most arthropods reproduce sexually, through internal fertilization. In many arthropods, such as crabs, you can see eggs attached to the abdomen.

Marine Examples of Athropods:

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