Comparative morphology of the feeding basket of five species of Euphausia (Crustacea, Euphausiacea) in the western North Pacific, with some ecological considerations

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Abstract

The feeding basket morphology and stomach content analyses of five Euphausia species (E. recurva, E. nana, E. pacifica, E. mutica and E. similis) were compared to elucidate their feeding ecology. The filter areas of feeding basket of E. pacifica and E. nana were proportionally larger than those of others in the size classes 13-20 mm and <13 mm, respectively, suggesting a high filtering efficiency in these species at each size class. Based on the secondary setal distance, it is suggested that there are three types of feeding basket in five Euphausia species. One is the fine mesh (<5 μm) of E. pacifica and E. nana; a second is the medium (10-20 μm) of E. recurva and E. mutica; and the third is the coarse (20-30 μm) of E. similis. The ability to feed on particles <5 μm would give both species, E. pacifica and E. nana, a great advantage over other species when number of flagellates is high. Stomach content analyses indicated a more omnivorous feeding mode in E. mutica, E. recurva and E. similis and a more herbivorous in E. pacifica and E. nana. This is in agreement with morphological studies of feeding baskets. Increments in the primary and secondary setal distances with increasing size of four Euphausia species, except E. pacifica, were evident, reflecting interspecific differences in food particle sizes utilized. In E. pacifica, however, the morphological similarity should produce intraspecific competition in diet.

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