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By far the most abundant members of the zooplankton, both in species and total numbers are the crustaceans. Crustaceans include lobsters, crabs, prawns, pill bugs, krill, barnacles, water fleas, brine shrimp (sea monkeys) and copepods. Crustaceans display some of the most spectacular metamorphoses from free-swimming meroplankton to reef-dwelling adult.
The first series below shows the metamorphosis of a Slipper Lobster from a tiny spindly larva to the heavily plated and brightly coloured adult. Slipper lobsters are closely related to rock lobsters but have a flattened body and short, wide antennae.
The second series shows the metamorphosis of the highly aggressive mantis shrimp. Adult mantis shrimp are often beautifully coloured in shades of red, green and blue. They capture their prey using large claws to smash or spear their victims.