Sunday Spinelessness – How could I forget Phronima?

By David Winter 04/03/2012

I don’t know how, but the other week, when was I trying to introduce the world to some of the ways those crustaceans we call amphipods have adapted to life on earth, I missed perhaps the coolest example of all. Phronima is an amphipod that builds itself a house from the remains of another animal.

Thankfully, other people done a much better job of celebrating these animals than I might have. Matthew Cobb wrote an article on them for Why Evolution is True, focusing especially on the salp whose body is stolen to form Phronima‘s house (you may be surprised to learn how closely related salps are to us).  Mike Bok wrote a post about Phronima and the (perfectly plausible) idea that this creature was an inspiration for the design of the queen from Aliens. Finally, a clip from the extraordinarily awesome Plankton Chronicles series lets you see what I’ve been going on about with your own eyes:

Be sure to check out the rest of the videos in the series, which includes the flying snails I’ve blogged about before, a focus on salps in their own right, lots of jellies and all sorts of other wonderful creatures.