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Crustaceans

Crustaceans belong to a group of animals called Arthropods, which means hard exoskeleton and jointed limbs. This is one of the most numerous and diverse group of organisms on the planet, and most species of crustacean live in the majority of marine habitats, from hiding under boulders in rockpools to burrowing deep in the sand.

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Velvet Swimming Crab © Lawson Wood Ocean Eye Films 

All crustaceans have a hard outer shell, called an exoskeleton, which is made from calcium and protects their soft internal organs. In order for the animal to grow, they must shed this exoskeleton at regular intervals, so look out for them washed up on the beach – what you think is a dead crab may be just its shed skin!

Crabs, Hermit Crabs & Lobsters

Shore Crab
Shore Crab

© Katherine Dunsford

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Velvet Swimming Crab
Velvet Swimming Crab

© Lawson Wood Ocean Eye Films

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Edible (Brown) Crab
Edible (Brown) Crab

© Susan Gill

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Common Hermit Crab
Common Hermit Crab

DID YOU KNOW: Hermit crabs don't grow their own shell? They inhabit empty marine snail shells and use them as their safe home to protect their soft bodies - until they get too big! They them must find a new home... even if that means taking a shell from another hermit crab!

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Broad-clawed Porcelain Crab
Broad-clawed Porcelain Crab

© Catherine Scott

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Long-clawed Porcelain Crab
Long-clawed Porcelain Crab

© Lawson Wood Ocean Eye Films

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Common Lobster
Common Lobster

© Lawson Wood Ocean Eye Films

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Common Squat Lobster
Common Squat Lobster

© Katherine Dunsford

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Spiny Squat Lobster
Spiny Squat Lobster

© Lawson Wood Ocean Eye Films

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Rugose Squat Lobster
Rugose Squat Lobster

© Lawson Wood Ocean Eye Films

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Shrimp & Prawns

Common Prawn
Common Prawn

© Katherine Dunsford

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Chameleon prawn
Chameleon prawn

© Lawson Wood Ocean Eye Films

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Barnacles

Acorn Barnacle
Acorn Barnacle

© Katherine Dunsford

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Images by Lawson Wood Ocean Eye Films, Katherine Dunsford & Catherine Scott