Malacostraca is the largest of the six classes of crustaceans, containing over 25,000 extant species, divided among 16 orders. Its members display a greater diversity of body forms than any other class of animals, and include crabs, lobsters, shrimp, krill, woodlice, scuds (Amphipoda), mantis shrimp and many other less familiar animals. They are abundant in all marine environments and have also colonised freshwater and terrestrial habitats. They are united by a common Bauplan, comprising 20 body segments (rarely 21), divided into a head, thorax and abdomen.
Ghost crabs, also called sand crabs, are crabs of the genus Ocypode, common shore crabs in many countries. Characteristics of the genus include one claw being larger than the other, but this difference is not as marked as in male fiddler crabs.