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Mussel Shrimp: Ostracoda

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, No Common Name (vargula Hilgendorfii): Species AccountGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, MUSSEL SHRIMP AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

NO COMMON NAME (Vargula hilgendorfii): SPECIES ACCOUNT

Mussel shrimp are found in all oceans and on all continents.

Most species live on the bottom, or near bottom. Some attach themselves to other organisms living on or near the bottom, including other species of crustaceans. One species lives in the gills of fish. Some live in open water, while others are found in very wet moss and leaf litter on land. Some ocean-dwelling species live at depths of 22,965 feet (7,000 meters).


Most mussel shrimp eat bits of plant material, although some species prey on small animals or scavenge their dead bodies.


Scientists use fossil ostracods to help them understand conditions in ancient habitats. Fossils are impressions left by species that died and settled on the mud bottoms of ancient seas. Over millions of years the mud hardens into stone.

No mussel shrimp are considered threatened or endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). However, species living on listed species of freshwater crayfish and isopods could become threatened if their hosts disappear.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMollusks, Crustaceans, and Related Species