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Free Content Ecology of Priapulus Caudatus Lamarck, 1816 (Priapulida) in an Alaskan Subarctic Ecosystem

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Priapulid worms (Priapulus caudatus) were a conspicuous component of the meiofauna (<0.500 mm) and macrofauna (>0.500 mm) in Auke Bay, Alaska (58°N, 134°W) from 1985–1988. The smallest priapulid larva collected had a lorica of 0.050 mm length, while total lengths of adults exceeded 150 mm. Priapulids were usually the third most abundant meiofaunal organisms, following nematodes and harpacticoid copepods, with densities to 58,000⋅m–2 at subtidal stations of 25–55 m depth. Priapulids were much less abundant in the macrofauna, never exceeding 85⋅m–2. Large interannual variation in densities of larval priapulids occurred. The smallest larval stages were found during the winter months, the apparent spawning period, with greatest densities of larvae occurring in early spring. Growth rates suggested by length-frequency distributions support a 2-year larval period.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 1990

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