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Cumaceans are small crustaceans, generally 1-10mm in size, which occur from tidal to abyssal depths in marine (and brackish) waters throughout the world. They are found in the first few cms of sand or sand/mud substrates; while they may be locally abundant, their distributions are patchy. Cumaceans feed on microorganisms and organic matter and are, in turn, consumed by bottom feeding organisms including a number of fishes.
Cyclaspis candida  Petalosarsia declivis  Diastylis pellucida 
These malacostracans are distinguished by a combination of features including a large carapace which covers many thorasic somites, a narrow, long abdomen, a forked tail, and, in many families, a telson. The sexes are conspicuously dimorphic: females lack pleopods (with one exception, of course!) and have a large brood chamber. The carapace is ornamented in many lineages and appendages are generally highly modified. The morphology of cumaceans is sufficiently distinctive that members of the order are easy to recognize.


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If data are extracted from this website for secondary analysis resulting in a publication, the website should be cited as follows:

  • Watling, L.; Gerken, S. (2019). World Cumacea Database. Accessed at on 2019-10-16. doi:10.14284/354

If any data constitutes a substantial proportion of the records used in secondary analyses (i.e. more than 25% of the data are derived from this source, or the data are essential to arrive at the conclusion of the analysis), the authors/managers of the database should be contacted. It may be useful to contact us directly in case there are additional data that may strengthen the analysis or there are features of the data that are important to consider but may not have been apparent from the metadata.

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Page generated on 2019-10-16 16:16:26 - contact: Les Watling