Crustacea  (krŭs-tā´shē-ȧ).—Applied to lobsters, crabs, etc.

The Crustacea form the third class of the Articulata, they comprise animals covered with a hard shell or carapace, like a case made up of rings, with joints allowing the pieces to move upon each other, except where several of them are consolidated to form the principal covering. These rings generally amount to twenty-one in number, some composing the claws, others the legs, &c. The shell is chiefly made of carbonate of lime (chalk) held together by animal matter. The greater part of the Crustacea inhabit the waters, and they cast their shells from time to time as they grow; the Lobster (Astacus marinus), is a familiar example, it is found in the sea near rocky shores, and is capable of rapid motion under the water, darting along (tail foremost) with great rapidity, it has powerful claws, with one of which (the blunt one) it holds its food and with the other (the sharp one) cuts it up into pieces; they have the power of casting off these claws and reproducing them; they feed upon smaller Crustacea and fish, or any animal matter they can find. The Cray-fish is another example, it is a sort of fresh-water Lobster, living in holes (frequently deserted rat holes) in the banks of rivers; its shell is very rough, but otherwise somewhat resembles the Lobster. Crabs, Shrimps, and Prawns, are members of this class (fig. 15).

1. Lobster (Astacus marinus).3. Crab (Cancer pagurus).
2. Cray-fish (Astacus fluviatilis).         4. Shrimp (Crangou vulgaris).
5. Prawn (Palæmon serratus).