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Feeding habits of the temperate octocoral Tripalea clavaria (Studer, 1878) (Octocorallia, Gorgonaria, Anthothelidae), from sublittoral outcrops off Mar del Plata, Argentina
Acuña, F.H.; Excoffon, A.C.; Zamponi, M.O.; Genzano, G.N. (2004). Feeding habits of the temperate octocoral Tripalea clavaria (Studer, 1878) (Octocorallia, Gorgonaria, Anthothelidae), from sublittoral outcrops off Mar del Plata, Argentina. Belg. J. Zool. 134(1): 65-66
In: Belgian Journal of Zoology. Koninklijke Belgische Vereniging voor Dierkunde = Société royale zoologique de Belgique: Gent. ISSN 0777-6276, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Dissolved organic matter; Feeding behaviour; Food preferences; Invertebrate larvae; Particulate organic matter; Sublittoral zone; Tripalea clavaria (Studer, 1878) [WoRMS]; PSW, Argentina, Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Acuña, F.H.
  • Excoffon, A.C.
  • Zamponi, M.O.
  • Genzano, G.N.

Abstract
    The feeding habits of Tripalea clavaria (Studer, 1878), an unbranched azooxanthellate octocoral from the SW Atlantic Ocean are analyzed. These results were compared with data on other anthozoans. The gastral contents of 1072 polyps belonging to 117 colonies were examined in the laboratory. Food items were identified to the lowest taxonomic level possible. Frequency indexes of prey show that larvae of Mytilus edulis were the main food item, and invertebrate eggs were an important food item in spring. Although other food items were only ocassional prey, T. clavaria seems to prey on a large variety of organisms, mainly small items of low motility, such as foraminiferans and invertebrate larvae. The results furnish evidence that gorgonians play a role in the energy flow between plankton and benthos. Further study is needed to determine the extent and scale of the feeding strategies of gorgonians and other benthic zooplanktivores.

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