Class Branchiopoda Water Fleas Brine Shrimp and Others

Nearly 25% of all freshwater crustaceans are branchiopods ("gill feet"), and almost all crustaceans in saline lakes are in this class; only 3% of the species occur in oceans. The class contains about 800 species of water fleas (in four orders of cladocera), 200 species of fairy and brine shrimp (order Anostraca), and a few taxa of clam (order Spinicaudata), pea (Laevicaudata), and tadpole shrimp (Notostraca). Most taxa other than cladocerans are restricted to ephemeral pools, and most branchiopods are suspension feeders. Branchiopods are noted for producing dormant embryos resistant to adverse environments.

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