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The animals on the cover of .NET Framework Essentials are shrimp. The 2,000 species of shrimp range in size from fractions of an inch to 8 inches-with an average size of about 4 inches. Like other crustaceans (including lobsters, crabs, crayfish, and barnacles), the shrimp has a segmented body covered by a hard, translucent exoskeleton, has a flexible abdomen and fan-shaped tail, and utilizes a “toolkit” of jointed appendages-each with specialized functions for various activities. The shrimp’s exoskeleton, while providing a strong protective layer over its body, must be shed occasionally to allow for growth in a process called molting. Similar to this process of regrowth, lost appendages can be regenerated if need be.

Different species of shrimp are found in marine and fresh water--shallow and deep--all over the world. Swimming backward by rapidly flexing its abdomen and tail, and with the assistance of specialized legs for swimming, the shrimp feeds on smaller plants and animals, as well as carrion. In fact, several species engage in symbiotic (mutually benefical or dependent) relationships with other organisms. The coral shrimp (Stenopus hispidus) cleans the scales of the coral fish, while the fish in turn swims backward through ...

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