Ostracods mate by putting the opened ventral side of the valves together, or the male may mount the female dorsally from behind and insert the large penes into the open valves of the female. Eggs may be laid freely in the environment or, as in some podocopids, are incubated inside the valves, usually above the abdomen. The first larval stage that hatches is a nauplius, with the carapace fold covering the body and appendages. At this stage, the animal can walk or swim by means of the antennae and mandibles. At each successive molt, new legs or leg primordia are usually added. Adult stages are reached in 5-8 molts, depending on order and family. Lifespan is usually a year or less, but little is known about this for deep-sea-dwelling species.
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