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Terrestrial arthropods often colonized and became important in freshwater ecosystems, but did so less often and with little consequence in marine habitats. This pattern cannot be explained by the physical properties of water alone or by limitations of the terrestrial arthropod body plan alone. One hypothesis is that transitions among terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems are unlikely when well-adapted incumbent species in the recipient realm collectively resist entry by initially less well adapted newcomers. I evaluated and modified this hypothesis by examining the properties of donor and recipient ecosystems and the roles that insects play or do not play in each. I argue that the insularity and diminished competitiveness of most freshwater ecosystems makes them vulnerable to invasion from land and sea, and largely prevent transitions from freshwater to terrestrial and marine habitats by arthropods. Small terrestrial arthropods emphasize high locomotor performance and long-distance communication, traits that work less well in the denser, more viscous medium of water. These limitations pose particular challenges for insects colonizing highly escalated marine ecosystems, where small incumbent species rely more on passive than on active defences. Predatory insects are less constrained than herbivores, wood-borers, filter-feeders, sediment burrowers and social species.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Arthropod structure & development
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A large subphylum of mostly marine ARTHROPODS containing over 42,000 species. They include familiar arthropods such as lobsters (NEPHROPIDAE), crabs (BRACHYURA), shrimp (PENAEIDAE), and barnacles (THORACICA).
Marine, freshwater, or terrestrial mollusks of the class Gastropoda. Most have an enclosing spiral shell, and several genera harbor parasites pathogenic to man.
A primitive form of digestive gland found in marine ARTHROPODS, that contains cells similar to those found in the mammalian liver (HEPATOCYTES), and the PANCREAS.
Arthropods of the order Scorpiones, of which 1500 to 2000 species have been described. The most common live in tropical or subtropical areas. They are nocturnal and feed principally on insects and other arthropods. They are large arachnids but do not attack man spontaneously. They have a venomous sting. Their medical significance varies considerably and is dependent on their habits and venom potency rather than on their size. At most, the sting is equivalent to that of a hornet but certain species possess a highly toxic venom potentially fatal to humans. (From Dorland, 27th ed; Smith, Insects and Other Arthropods of Medical Importance, 1973, p417; Barnes, Invertebrate Zoology, 5th ed, p503)
A major group of polyphyletic organisms of extremely varied morphology and physiology, mostly photosynthetic, but distinguished from plants by their complex form of sexual reproduction. They are freshwater and marine, terrestrial and subterranean; some are neustonic (living at the interface of water and the atmosphere). They live in various protozoa and within other plants. They live also in soil and on soil surfaces, on long-persistent snows, and in Antarctic rocks. Thermophilic algae inhabit hot springs. (From Webster, 3d ed; from Bold & Wynne, Introduction to the Algae, 2d ed, pp1-6)