All images on this website have been taken in Leicestershire and Rutland by NatureSpot members. We welcome new contributions - just register and use the Submit Records form to post your photos. Click on any image below to visit the species page. The RED / AMBER / GREEN dots indicate how easy it is to identify the species - see our Identification Difficulty page for more information. A coloured rating followed by an exclamation mark denotes that different ID difficulties apply to either males and females or to the larvae - see the species page for more detail.
Crustacea - Woodlice, Crayfish etc.
Crustacea are a large group of Arthopod invertebrates. Many of them are aquatic, living in marine or freshwater environments, but the familiar terrestrial Woodlice are Crustacea in the Order Isopoda, along with freshwater Waterlice or hoglice, plus a few marine species. Crayfish are in the Order Decapoda - literally meaning 'ten footed' - which also include marine lobsters and crabs. Shrimps are now placed in the Order Amphipoda, which includes marine and freshwater species.
Crustacea include many thousands of tiny freshwater species that are planktonic (living in the water) or benthic (found in sediments). These include the Water-fleas (Diplostraca or Cladocera), Copepods (e.g. the Orders Cyclopoida, Harpacticoida and Calanoida) and Ostrocods. Their position at the lower levels of the aquatic food-chain means they are of great ecological importance.