Crustaceans are invertebrates (which means they have no spine) that have jointed legs and a hard exoskeleton. They come in many shapes and sizes. Crustaceans’ body shapes are so varied that the only thing they all have in common is two pairs of antennae at some stage of their life cycle.
You would probably recognize a crab, a lobster and a crawfish (crawdad) but few people realize how many crustaceans live in the world around us. More than 38,000 species of crustaceans are known; most live in the ocean and many have not yet been named.
Several types of freshwater crustaceans live in vernal pools in the Central Valley. You will discover a few here but there are many more. Seek them out during the wet winter months when the pools are full of water. They will be long gone by summer!