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Diet and gut microorganisms of Munidopsis squat lobsters associated with natural woods and mesh-enclosed substrates in the deep South Pacific
Hoyoux, C.; Zbinden, M.; Samadi, S.; Gaill, F.; Compère, P. (2012). Diet and gut microorganisms of Munidopsis squat lobsters associated with natural woods and mesh-enclosed substrates in the deep South Pacific. Mar. Biol. Res. 8(1): 28-47. dx.doi.org/10.1080/17451000.2011.605144
In: Marine Biology Research. Taylor & Francis: Oslo. ISSN 1745-1000, more
Peer reviewed article

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Keywords
    Ecology; Evolution; Symbiosis; Munidopsis Whiteaves, 1874 [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Hoyoux, C., more
  • Zbinden, M.
  • Samadi, S.
  • Gaill, F.
  • Compère, P., more

Abstract
    Squat lobsters of the deep-sea genus Munidopsis are among the most regularly reported crustaceans associated with deep-sea wood falls. They are often thought to indirectly use these substrates for preying or scavenging wood-associated molluscs or annelids, albeit the species M. andamanica has been recently highlighted as a xylophagous specialist. In this work, we examined the feeding appendages, gut contents and gut lining of M. nitida, M. bispinoculata and M. pilosa specimens from natural sunken woods and compared them with specimens of the same species having survived and grown on different hard-to-digest substrates (i.e. woods, turtle shells and whale bones) experimentally submerged in the deep South Pacific. In both cases, all three species directly ingest large wood fragments deeply degraded by microorganisms, but M. nitida also feeds on experimentally submerged whale bone and turtle shell fragments. Munidopsis nitida is also the only species to host a resident gut microflora, but the bacterial morphotypes vary according to the ingested substrate. The results suggest that the three species are most probably opportunistic, bacterivorous detritivores and that M. nitida could be at the beginning of an evolutionary process towards xylophagy within the genus Munidopsis.

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