Contributions to Zoology, 69 (4) (2000)J. John Sepkoski, Jr. †: Crustacean biodiversity through the marine fossil record

To refer to this article use this url:


Approximately 2,600 genera of marine crustaceans have been recognized in the fossil record, and crustaceans constitute the major component of marine arthropod diversity from the mid-Paleozoic to the Recent. Despite problems of sporadic fossil preservation and/or taxonomic ambiguity, some general statements can be made about the history of crustacean biodiversity, based on global taxonomic data bases. Ostracodes were the first major group to radiate, attaining high diversity during the Ordovician Period with other members of the Paleozoic evolutionary fauna; rates of extinction and responses to mass extinctions were also similar to those of groups within the Paleozoic fauna. Malacostracans and barnacles (cirripedes), the two other crustacean groups with important fossil records, had minor diversity throughout the Paleozoic Era. Both groups experienced diversification from the mid-Mesozoic to Recent with lower extinction rates, as characteristic members of the Modern evolutionary fauna.