Spatio-temporal distribution and ecological role of polychaete borers of Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile scales
Spatio-temporal distribution of polychaete borers in scales of Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile were studied in a meadow located at Ischia island (Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy; 40°43.32 ′N, 13°51.28 ′E). Sampling occurred bimonthly at two stations located at 11 m and 28 m depth. A total of 787 rhizomes were analysed, which hosted 538 borer polychaetes, belonging to four species of Eunicidae: Lysidice collaris Grube 1870, Lysidice ninetta Audouin and Milne-Edwards 1833, Nematonereis unicornis Grube 1840, Marphysa fallax Marion and Bobretzky 1875. Polychaetes occurred in all sampling periods, with seasonal abundance significantly different (P < 0.05) at both stations. The two most abundant species showed a clear depth separation: L. collaris dominated at 11 m depth, and L. ninetta at 28 m. Borer occurrence was significantly higher (P < 0.05) at the station at 28 m (mean 63.8% of the shoots examined) compared to the one at 11 m (mean 37.8%). Borers colonized mainly thicker scales (>0.4 mm), and those older than 1 lepidochronological year. Estimates of mass consumption (mg d.w.) were performed with an image analysis technique both for single scales and individual rhizomes affected by borers. Mean mass consumption on single scales ranged between 6.1 and 7.3% of the scale weight, while mean consumption of single rhizomes represented only 1.2–1.3% of the scale mass.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 November 2002
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