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Giant ostracod

Giant ostracod

Not on Exhibit

Animal Facts

  • Scientific Name

    Gigantocypris agassizii

  • Animal Type


  • Diet

    copepods, small fishes

  • Size

    to 1 inch (2.5 cm)

  • Relatives

    other crustaceans (shrimp, crabs, lobsters); Order: Ostracoda

  • Habitat

    Deep Sea

  • Range

    midwater (2,953-4,265 feet, or 900-1,300 m)

Natural History

Since they look like a shrimp inside a seed pod, ostracods are sometimes called seed shrimp. Their bodies are hinged, like a clam's, and they can disappear into their pods with only their antennae showing. When the pod is open, the featherlike antennae stick out to move, feel and feed. The giant ostracod swims by rowing its antennae like oars.


Anything that finds its way into the ocean—whether it's tossed away as trash or washed off a beach or boat—may eventually make its way to the deep sea. It's important to realize that the deep sea is not so far away that it's beyond the reach of human activities. Living creatures in the deep are affected by what we do at the surface.

Cool Facts

The giant ostracod is bright orange-red and has two large, mirrored eyes.

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