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Free Content Functional Morphology and Feeding Behavior of Malacoceros Indicus (Polychaeta: Spionidae)

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The functional morphology and feeding behavior of Malacoceros indicus were studied in a coarse, coralline sand habitat at Lizard Island, North Queensland, Australia. Unlike other spionid polychaetes, the tentacular feeding palps were never observed extended above the sediment-water interface to feed on suspended particles. Spionids that switch between deposit-feeding and suspension-feeding modes typically have three or four functional groups of cilia on their palps. In contrast, M. indicus had a single functional group, the frontal cilia lining the food groove of the palp. The restriction of feeding behavior to deposit-feeding may be behaviorally constrained due to the absence of abundant suspended particles and by the lack of easily resuspended fine particles in the habitat. Gut content analyses indicated no selection of deposited particles compared to ambient sediment composition; however, particles in the size range selected by other spionid species were not present in the ambient sediments.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1991

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