Arthropod Life History
The changes undergone by an arthropod during its lifetime.
Arthropods account for over 80% of the species on earth. As such, the diversity of life histories of arthropods practically spans that of all life. Arthropods are born, grow to sexual maturity, reproduce, and die; discovering variation and patterns of these major life events is to study life history of arthropods (Stearns 1992).
There are four major groups of extant arthropods. Chelicerates (>100,000 species) include animals like spiders, mites, harvestmen, and the four extant species of horseshoe crab; Crustaceans (>70,000 species) include groups like crabs, shrimp, barnacles, woodlice, and brine shrimp; Myriapods (>16,000 species) include centipedes and millipedes. The most specious group, insects (>2 million, and perhaps as many as 30 million), includes beetles, butterflies, flies, and bees, among many others. Extant arthropods range in size from the crustacean giants to maxillopod miniatures. The...
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