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Free Content Functional morphology and feeding behavior of Spio setosa (Polychaeta: Spionidae)

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The functional morphology of the feeding palps of the spionid polychaete Spio setosa was studied based upon specimens from Delaware Bay, USA. The functional morphology of the palps, particularly the ciliary groups, of S. setosa was compared to other suspension feeding spionid polychaetes. The functional morphology of the palps was contrasted with a sympatrically occurring obligate deposit-feeding spionid polychaete, Marenzelleria viridis. The feeding palps of S. setosa contain three ciliary groups: frontal cilia lining the food groove, non-motile cirri on the frontal surface organized into uniformly-spaced rows and widely-scattered non-motile cirri on the lateral and abfrontal surface of the palp. In contrast to the cirri of the frontal surface of other suspensionfeeding spionid species, the frontal cirri of S. setosa are organized into multiple, uniformly-spaced rows; are non-motile; and are shorter in length. The uniformly-spaced rows are hypothesized to function in increasing mucus adhesion during particle capture in flow. The widely-scattered cirri of the lateral and abfrontal surfaces are hypothesized to function primarily as mechano-sensory structures. The feeding behavior of S. setosa and the sympatrically occurring obligate deposit-feeding spionid, M. viridis, were compared. The ciliary groupings of the two species were not remarkably different; however, the species differed greatly in palp length and dwelling type. Comparably-sized individuals of S. setosa had palp lengths 4 to 5 times longer than M. viridis. S. setosa also produced a sand tube that projected several cms into the water column whereas M. viridis lives in a burrow. Palp length and projecting dwellings affect numerous aspects of particle capture dynamics and potential exposure to predation and browsing.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-07-01

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  • 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.
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