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The phylum Arthropoda is frequently divided into four subphyla the extant forms: Chelicerata (arachnids), Crustacea (crustaceans), Hexapoda (insects and springtails), and also Myriapoda (millipedes and also centipedes). Some zoologists think that arthropods possessing just single-branched appendages, an especially the insects, centipedes, and also millipedes, advanced from a separate ancestor and therefore group them in ~ a different phylum—the Uniramia, or Atelocerata; however, in this treatment these develops are dispersed among several subphyla. In addition, the phylum Arthropoda has the die out subphylum Trilobitomorpha. This group is made up of the trilobites, the leading arthropods in the early Paleozoic seas (541.0 million to 251.9 million years ago). Trilobites came to be extinct during the Permian duration (298.9 million come 251.9 million years ago) in ~ the end of the Paleozoic Era.

The myriapods (centipedes, symphylans, millipedes, and pauropods) live beneath stones and logs and also in leaf mold; insects are discovered in all species of terrestrial habitats and also some have actually invaded fresh water. The sea has remained the domain of the crustaceans, however, and also only in ~ its very edges are insects (subphylum Hexapoda) found.

A south African millipede.

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The subphylum Crustacea consists of mostly marine arthropods, though many of that is members, such as the crayfish, have invaded new water, and also one group, the pill bugs (sow bugs), has come to be terrestrial, living beneath stones and logs and also in sheet mold. In the sea, huge crustaceans such as crabs and shrimps are common bottom-dwelling arthropods. Countless minute types of crustaceans (particularly the copepods) are crucial component the the zooplankton (floating or weakly swim animals) and serve as food for various other invertebrates, fishes, and also even whales.