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Crustaceans are a class of generally edible invertebrate critters.
Crustaceans are arthropods (as are insects and spiders), having a firm exoskeleton and jointed limbs. Crustaceans range from microscopic plankton to large crabs and lobsters, prawns, barnacles, and woodlice, one of the rare examples of non-aquatic crustaceans. Like fish, crustaceans have gills, although, unlike most fish, many can survive in open air. Some people have an extreme aversion, almost phobia of crustaceans. This is understandable; they are pretty freaky looking. Others think that they, especially shrimp and crabs, are beautiful, graceful, fascinating creatures.
A third group of people thinks that they are tasty. The eating of shellfish (crustaceans and molluscs) is expressly forbidden in the Bible, which identifies all aquatic creatures without fins and scales as an abomination (Leviticus 11:9-12). In addition to obvious examples, such as shrimp, crab, and lobster, this law also forbids the eating of things like bivalves, octopussies, squid, and eels, the last one being actually quite tasty, if one likes sushi anyway. This may have been for health reasons, since poorly cooked or out-of-season seafood can cause food poisoning (especially when the red tide is blooming). Nevertheless, shellfish remain forbidden in Jewish kosher cuisine, certain interpretations of Islamic halal, and the diets of a few Christian sects, such as Seventh-day Adventism.
- Despite their name, woodlice aren't actually lice, if the fact that they aren't insects didn't already give that away, nor do they even resemble them. Pill bugs (a.k.a., roly-polies) are examples of woodlice and are small and harmless animals that live in people's yards and tend to roll into a ball when poked; just don't poke them too hard or they might die.