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any member of the order Isopoda (class Crustacea), a group of diverse, widely occurring forms including marine, freshwater, and terrestrial species. Most are free-living, but a number of marine species are parasitic on other animals. They are usually inconspicuous. Most of the 4,000 species, which include the pill bug, the sow bug, and the gribble (qq.v.), are from 0.7 to 35 mm (0.28 to 1.4 inches) long; however, Bathynomus giganteus, a marine species of the Caribbean Sea, grows to 35 cm (14 inches)