Skip to main content

Free Content Niche separation in three species of Ophiocoma (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) in Jamaica, West Indies

Download Article:
(PDF 1353.076171875 kb)
The brittle-stars Ophiocoma wendtii, O. echinata and O. pumila occur under rubble and in crevices in coral heads shoreward of the reef crest. To determine if the three species differed in use of resources, the sizes of crevice openings used were measured, feeding methods and behavior were observed, and stomach contents examined. The three species were found to use crevices of different sizes, which in part may be a function of their difference in size: but size alone is unlikely to be the reason for the use of such large crevices by O. wendtii. All three species were observed to suspension- and deposit-feed, but differed in the degree to which they exposed themselves, and in the feeding areas used in relation to their crevices. The analysis of stomach contents revealed a broad overlap in diet and particle size, but those of O. wendtii had the highest amount of very fine flocculent material, and O. pumila, the smallest species, contained the largest particles. Thus these three closely related species, which appear to co-exist, when studied in detail show striking and subtle differences in several aspects of their life habits. The availability of suitable sized crevices is likely to be a major determinant of the distribution of the species.

21 References.

No Supplementary Data.
No Data/Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1985-05-01

More about this publication?
  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more