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Crustaceans Japan.jpg
Crustaceans. Exotic Sea Life, Japanese illustrations, 1931.
Anemones (detail). Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der Natur, 1899.
Echinoderms. Exotic Sea Life, Japanese illustrations, 1931.
Slipper Lobster. Histoire Naturelle, Lamarck, 1782.
Mollusks Japan.jpg
Mollusks. Exotic Sea Life, Japanese illustrations, 1931.

Invertebrates: A Definition

An invertebrate is an animal without a spinal column.

Invertebrates account for some 97% of all known animal species. (Vertebrates that fall within the subphylum Vertebrata include the fishes, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals.)

There are more than 30 invertebrate phyla, with an incredible diversity of life forms, ranging from rudimentary sponges to dazzlingly beautiful and anatomically sophisticated crustaceans.



Invertebrate Phyla

With the exception of insects and spiders, members of all of these invertebrate phyla routinely make their way into home aquariums.

Need help? Read the Species Profiles instructions for Invertebrates.

Invertebrate Extremes

The Alecton attempts to capture a giant squid off Tenerife in 1861. Illustration from Harper Lee's Sea Monsters Unmasked, London, 1884. Wiki Commons

World's Largest Invertebrate Giant squid, with the larger females reaching lengths of 43 feet, are the largest invertebrates. There are eight species of giant squid, Genus Architeuthis. They have the largest eyes in the animal kingdom, roughly the size of a human head. The largest giant squid ever measured was 59 feet long.

Largest Invertebrate (land) The coconut crab has a legspan of up to two and a half feet and weighs about 6.6 pounds. Native to tropical Indo-Pacific islands, this hermit crab species has muscular claws capable of punching holes into coconuts so that it can scoop out the flesh.

Most Venomous Animal A single sea wasp (a kind of jellyfish with 60 tentacles, each 15 feet long) has enough venom to kill 60 adult humans.

Source: Wikipedia

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Marine Invertebrates
Text credit: AQG