Branchiopoda

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Branchiopoda is a class of crustaceans. It is the sister group to the remaining crustaceans, and comprises fairy shrimp, clam shrimp, Cladocera and Notostraca. They are mostly small, freshwater animals that feed on plankton and detritus, with the exception of the Cladocera, many of which are marine.

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Description

Members of the Branchiopoda are unified by the presence of gills on many of the animal's appendages, including some of the mouthparts. This is also responsible for the name of the group[1] (from the Greek: branchia, gills, akin to bronchos, windpipe; Greek: pous, foot).[2] They generally possess compound eyes and a carapace, which may be a shell of two valves enclosing the trunk (as in most Cladocera), broad and shallow (as in the Notostraca), or entirely absent (as in the Anostraca).[3] In the groups where the carapace prevents the use of the trunk limbs for swimming (Cladocera, clam shrimp and the extinct Lipostraca), the antennae are used for locomotion, as they are in the nauplius.[3] Male fairy shrimp have an enlarged pair of antennae with which they graps the female during mating, while the bottom-feeding Notostraca, the antennae are reduced to vestiges.[3] The trunk limbs are beaten in a metachronal rhythm, causing a flow of water along the midline of the animal, from which it derives oxygen, food and, in the case of the Anostraca and Notostraca, movement.[3]

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