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Behavioural and metabolic adaptations of marine isopods to the rafting life style
Gutow, L.; Strahl, J.; Wiencke, C.; Franke, H.-D.; Saborowski, R. (2006). Behavioural and metabolic adaptations of marine isopods to the rafting life style. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 149(4): 821-828.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Gutow, L.
  • Strahl, J.
  • Wiencke, C.
  • Franke, H.-D.
  • Saborowski, R.

    Rafting on floating objects is a common dispersal mechanism for many marine invertebrates. In order to identify adaptations to the rafting life style, we compared behavioural and metabolic characteristics of two isopods, the obligate rafter Idotea metallica and the facultative rafter Idotea baltica. In laboratory experiments, I. metallica showed low locomotive activity and a tight association to the substratum. Idotea baltica, in contrast, was more active with more frequent excursions in the surrounding water column. Oxygen consumption rates were similar in both species. Idotea metallica fed on zooplankton making this species widely independent of autochthonous food resources of the raft. Feeding rates and digestive enzyme activities were low in I. metallica. Reduced egestion rates may indicate slow gut passage and, thus, efficient resorption of nutrients. Efficient food utilization and the ability to accumulate high amounts of storage products, i.e. lipids, indicate a possible adaptation of I. metallica to low food availability or starvation. The feeding behaviour of I. baltica, in contrast, was more herbivorous and appeared wasteful and inefficient. Low lipid contents in I. baltica also indicate poor storage reserves. Thus, I. baltica requires a permanent access to food.

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