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an order of saltwater and freshwater invertebrate animals of the subclass of higher crustaceans (Malacostraca).
The size of Amphipoda is from 0.5 to 25 cm. The body is usually laterally compressed, but sometimes it is flattened from back to front. Amphipoda swim on their sides—hence the Russian name bokoplavy (side-swimmers). Amphipoda are dioecious; the males are larger than the females. The females deposit eggs in a brood chamber. Young Amphipoda are not much different from the adults. Almost 7,000 species of Amphipoda are known. They are especially widely distributed in the oceans, but they are also found in fresh water (rivers, lakes, and subterranean and cave waters).
Amphipoda carry on various activities: they bury themselves in the ground, build small houses, and live among algae and hydroids. Some of them swim in the depth of the water or float on its surface. Amphipoda are food for many edible fish (cod, flounder, herring, carp, and trout), seals, whales, and birds. Amphipoda include the pests Chelura terebrans, which gnaw wooden structures (docks and piles), and several species of the genus Gammarus, which eat anchored fishnets.
A. I. BULYCHEVA