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an order of marine invertebrates of the subclass Malacostraca. The body length is 1–34 cm. Stomatopods have a large carapace. The extremities of the first five thoracic segments have been transformed into maxillipeds, of which the second pair is particularly well developed. The last segment of the second pair of maxillipeds can bend back to the next to the last segment, forming a powerful grasping apparatus. The rear thoracic segments are free, with a pair of biramous limbs. The abdomen is long and has one pair of flat caudal extremities and five pairs of flattened natatorial limbs with filiform gills. There are approximately 150 species of stomatopods, primarily inhabiting tropical seas. The invertebrates are usually fossorial. Only one species exists in the USSR, in the Sea of Japan. Some species are edible.