Arthropod phylum is the largest on Earth, and marine arthropods
encompass a huge variety of familar organisms, including barnacles,
shrimps, lobsters, and crabs. The arthropod body plan is bilaterally
symmetrical and segmented, with jointed appendages that are moved
by muscles. Another characteristic of arthropods is a chitinous
external skeleton, or exoskeleton. All arthropods grow by molting;
they shed their exoskeletons, expand their bodies by absorping water,
and then secrete a new, larger exoskeleton into which they grow.
Jointed appendages and an exoskeleton provide protection, support,
flexibility, and increased surface area for muscle attachment.
Almost all marine arthropods belong to the Subphylum Crustacea.
Crustaceans possess gills to obtain oxygen from sea water, have
appendages specialized for the marine environment, and calcium carbonate
in their chitinous exoskeletons to strengthen them.
on the links below to learn more about different types of Arthropods
that are found in the intertidal of the Gulf of California. To go
back to the Gallery of Marine Life, click here.
take a practice quiz on the Phylum Arthropoda, click here.