The Ostracod

Published on 7 December 2019 at 18:20

The seed shrimp

There's a good chance you've never seen this animal before. This is because the animal is between 0.1 and 30 mm in size and can be found in the sea. The Ostracods are also called seed shrimp. Of this animal there are 70,000 species! What is so special about this animal? That's what you'll read in this article.

 

The body is flattened from side to side and protects with a transparent shell. They live in fresh water and in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The animals eat a lot and don't limit themselves to a plant. The different species form groups that includes carnivores, herbivores, scavengers and filter feeders.

 

Although many species are already known, not all species have been identified yet, simply because there is so much diversity. Ostracods belong to the crustaceans.''Ostracod'' originates from the Greek word óstrakon which means shell.

 

Fossils

Ostracods are one of the most common fossils of animals. Recent fossils are found, but also fossils from the early Ordovician. The Ordovician period is between 485.4 and 443.8 million years ago, how special is it to find a fossil that's so old?

Ostracods are one of the most common fossils of animals. Recent fossils are found, but also fossils from the early Ordovician. The Ordovician period is between 485.4 and 443.8 million years ago, how special is it to find a fossil that is so old?

 

Bizarre facts

1. In Australia a male and female fossil of the Ostracod was found in 2013. Both species had well preserved soft tissue. This has achieved the funny Guinness World Record for the oldest penis ever.

 

2. Not only did the male fossil have the oldest penis, but also the oldest sperm that has been preserved. When it was researched it turned out that the internal structures are the largest sperm (Per body size) or any animal recorded. How many more records do you want to have in your name?       

 

 3. Some Ostracods have a light organ with which they produce luminescent chemicals. They use this for defense and mating. Those who give light for mating are only seen in the Caribbean and are called ''Blue sand'' or ''Blue tears'' because of the blue glow they give off in the dark.

 

4. Because of light, they were even used in the Second World War. The Japanese army collected large numbers of these animals to use as a light source to read maps in the dark, for example. The light that the animals gave was enough to read something, but not enough to betray their position to enemies.

 

Cross-section view of an ostracod from the Permian of Texas.

 

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