arthropod


arthropod

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Representative arthropods. Uniramia, the largest of the arthropod subphyla, contains mostly …—© Merriam-Webster Inc.

Any member of the largest phylum, Arthropoda, in the animal kingdom. Arthropoda consists of more than one million known invertebrate species in four subphyla: Uniramia (five classes, including insects), Chelicerata (three classes, including arachnids and horseshoe crabs), Crustacea (crustaceans), and Trilobita (trilobites). All arthropods are bilaterally symmetrical and possess a segmented body covered by an exoskeleton containing chitin, which serves as both armour and a surface for muscle attachment. Each body segment may bear a pair of jointed appendages. The phylum includes carnivores, herbivores, omnivores, detritus feeders, filter feeders, and parasites (see parasitism) in nearly all environments, both aquatic and terrestrial.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on arthropod, visit Britannica.com.

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