AskDefine | Define isopod

Dictionary Definition

isopod n : any of various small terrestrial or aquatic crustaceans with seven pairs of legs adapted for crawling

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Any of very many crustaceans, of the order Isopoda, that have a flattened body, and no carapace


Extensive Definition

Isopods are one of the most diverse orders of crustaceans, with many species living in all environments, but are most common in shallow marine waters. Unlike most crustaceans, isopods are successful on land (suborder Oniscidea, woodlice, which also includes sea slaters), although their greatest diversity remains in the deep sea (suborder Asellota). There are also several parasitic species within the genus Cymothoa, commonly known as "tongue-biters" for their habit of nibbling off fishes' tongues and attaching themselves to the floor of the host's mouth. The isopods are an ancient group with fossils known from the Carboniferous (suborder Phreatoicidea, family Paleophreatoicidae) that only differ slightly from modern southern hemisphere freshwater phreatoicideans. There are 4000 known species.


Isopods have three main body parts; the head, thorax, and abdomen. They have one prominent pair of antennae which are used to search and taste and smell food and have a second pair which are not seen, and seven pairs of crippled legs. Isopods have seven separate appendages on the thorax and paired appendages at the end of the abdomen called uropods. Isopods vary in colour from dark gray to white, with and without pattern. Isopods eat leaves and fish when they have a chance. Isopods live under water in the crab habitat.


External links

isopod in German: Asseln
isopod in Estonian: Kakandilised
isopod in Spanish: Isopoda
isopod in French: Isopoda
isopod in Italian: Isopoda
isopod in Latvian: Vienādkājvēži
isopod in Hungarian: Ászkarákok
isopod in Dutch: Pissebedden
isopod in Japanese: ワラジムシ目
isopod in Norwegian: Tanglus
isopod in Norwegian Nynorsk: Isopoda
isopod in Polish: Równonogi
isopod in Portuguese: Isopodos
isopod in Russian: Равноногие
isopod in Finnish: Siirat
isopod in Swedish: Gråsuggor
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