The Isopoda are small crustaceans with seven pairs of legs that range in size from 300 micrometres (Microcerberidae) to nearly 50 centimetres (Bathynomus). Their name, which means "like-foot" or similar (iso) and foot (pod), probably comes from the early zoologists' familiarity with the common terrestrial "slaters" or "woodlice" (other names: cloportes, pissebedden, pillbugs, roly-polies, sowbugs). The isopods are diverse, with around 10,180 species found in all ecosystems from the deepest oceans to the montane terrestrial habitats and deep underground in caves or aquifers. Isopods are thought of as dorsoventrally flattened, as in the typical terrestrial slater, and indeed many species fit this morphological stereotype. Isopods from the deep sea and groundwater habitats and parasitic taxa may depart considerably from this typical body plan.
The isopods belong to the well-known crustacean group, the Malacostraca, which includes familiar crustaceans like shrimp, crabs, lobsters and krill. Unlike these malacostracans with an obvious carapace, the isopods lack one. The isopods belong to the Superorder Peracarida, which includes a diverse array of shrimp-like taxa that all brood their young in a pouch between their legs. Isopods are unique among these crustaceans for many reasons. Because they lack a carapace, the gills, which are covered by the carapace in other groups, are absent, so they breathe using specialised lamellar gill-like pleopods ("swimming limbs") on the posterior section of the body. In many terrestrial isopods, the pleopods bear respiratory structures similar to lungs. Internally, the heart is positioned in the posterior section of the thorax to provide increased circulation for the gills. Unlike all other crustaceans, the isopods shed their cuticle (a process called ecdysis) in two steps: "biphasic molting".
This site has the following aims:
- to provide a catalogue of the world's isopod species
- to promote stability in isopod nomenclature
- to act as a tool for higher taxonomic revisions and regional monographs
- to provide a base link for other online databases that use isopod nomenclature
To provide sufficient expert knowledge for maintaining the list, we have formed an editorial committee to whom the queries on particular taxa should be addressed.
History of the list
This list began as an initiative of the US National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, maintained by the late Brian Kensley and Marilyn Schotte. It grew into a valuable resource http://invertebrates.si.edu/isopod/ for providing nomenclature on the Isopoda: Schotte, M., B.F. Kensley, and S. Shilling. (1995 onwards). World list of Marine, Freshwater and Terrestrial Crustacea Isopoda. National Museum of Natural History Smithsonian Institution: Washington D.C., USA. This list is now reconstructed at http://www.marinespecies.org, with more detailed information on synonymies and distributions, and a capability to host more information, such as images, original literature, and specimen data. This list will be transferred on a monthly basis back to the Smithsonian site.
How to cite
Citation and use of the data
By use of data from this website, the visitor agrees to the following:
Data from this website, if used in a publication, should be cited as follows:
- Boyko, C.B; Bruce, N.L.; Merrin, K. L.; Ota, Y.; Poore, G.C.B.; Taiti, S.; Schotte, M. & Wilson, G.D.F. (Eds) (2008 onwards). World Marine, Freshwater and Terrestrial Isopod Crustaceans database. Accessed at http://www.marinespecies.org/isopoda on 2017-04-28
If any data constitutes a substantial proportion of the records used in secondary analyses (i.e. more than 25% of the data are derived from this source, or the data are essential to arrive at the conclusion of the analysis), the editors of the database should be contacted. Contacting us directly may be useful in case additional data may strengthen the analysis or features of the data are important to consider but may not have been apparent from the metadata.
World List of Marine Freshwater and Terrestrial Isopod Crustaceans Editorial Board:
- Boyko, Christopher B.: chief taxonomic editor (Epicaridea, Calabozoidea)
- Bruce, Niel L.: Aegidae, Anuropidae, Barybrotidae, Cirolanidae, Corallanidae, Cymothoidae, Phoratopidea, Protognathiidae, Seroloidea, Sphaeromatoidea, Tridentellidae
- Hadfield, Kerry: Aegidae, Anuropidae, Barybrotidae, Cirolanidae, Corallanidae, Cymothoidae, Protognathiidae, Tridentellidae
- Merrin, Kelly: Asellota, Microcerberidea
- Ota, Yuzo: Gnathiidae
- Poore, Gary: Anthuroidea, Valvifera
- Taiti, Stefano: Oniscidea (Terrestrial isopods)
Links to other isopod sitesGeneral
- Smithsonian Marine, Freshwater & Terrestrial Isopods
- The Isopod Newsletter (M. Schotte)
- Isopods of Southern Australia (Museum of Victoria)
- The Crustacean Society
- Stenobermuda Stenetriidae (T. Iliffe, TAMUG)
- Atlantasellus (Tom Iliffe, TAMUG)
- Catalog and bibligraphy of Terrestria isopods (Oniscidea)(Dr. Helmut Schmalfuss)
- Rearing and Experimenting with Isopods (Michigan Entom. Soc.)
- Cloporteweb (A. Gross - In French)
- Isopod Parasites of Crustacea (J. Shields, VIMS)
- Sphaeromatidae and other isopods (LA County Museum site)