Rhythm of secretion of Oikopleurid's houses
The appendicularians belonging to the family Oikopleuridae live in a mucilaginous bubble. This house contains filters which retain particles from 0.1 to 30 μm. Within the old house the animal secretes a mucus sleeve which it can expand to form a new house a few seconds after it leaves the old house. A certain number of houses can be built each day. For a long time, it was believed that oikopleurids left their houses when the internal filters became clogged. We have demonstrated that animals leave their houses regularly even when the filters are clean as, for example, when the specimens are maintained in artificial seawater without food. Our experiments show us that the periodicity of house-changing is under the control of temperature and food. We determined, under different conditions, the secretion rates for specimens of O. dioica in culture. With the other conditions constant, an increasing temperature (between 14°C and 22°C) stimulates house renewal. The relationship between houses secreted and temperature is linear. The production of houses varied from 4 to 16 per individual per day. The number of houses secreted during a life cycle varied between 35 and 46. Decrease of food supply leads to decrease in rate of house building. Dissolved organic matter is used by appendicularians for house production. Addition of particulate matter to the natural milieu, up to a certain amount, gives rise to an increase in rate of house building.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1985-09-01
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