, Volume 134, Issue 3, pp 585-593

Feeding biology of a predatory and a facultatively predatory nematode (Enoploides longispiculosus and Adoncholaimus fuscus)

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Abstract

This paper reports on the feeding biology of a predatory and of a facultatively predatory nematode, Enoploides longispiculosus and Adoncholaimus fuscus, respectively. Both species represent genera which are common and abundant in the littoral of the North Sea and in adjacent estuaries. Observations on the foraging behaviour of both species are given, and for the former species, a range of prey from its natural habitat is identified. Respiration was determined using a polarographic oxygen electrode technique and compared to consumption determined as predation rates on the monhysterid nematode Diplolaimelloides meyli. The daily C-loss due to respiration accounted for 15% of the measured C-consumption in E. longispiculosus and for 111% in A. fuscus, proving the observed feeding rates in the latter species to have been inadequate for the maintenance of its aerobic metabolism. Daily respiration rates at an average environmental temperature were 219 ng C ind−1 d−1 for adults of A. fuscus and 21.9 ng C ind−1 d−1 for adults of E. longispiculosus. Using radiotracer techniques, no uptake of bacterial cells or of organic matter in the dissolved phase was demonstrated for E. longispiculosus. In A. fuscus, however, a significant drinking of label in the dissolved or volatile fraction occurred; bacterial cells were taken up at a level insignificant to the nematode's daily C-ration. It is concluded that E. longispiculosus has a fairly strict predatory feeding strategy, while A. fuscus gains a majority of C from additional foraging strategies, among which the uptake of dissolved material and scavenging on macrofauna carcasses (as reported in the literature) may be of particular importance.

Received: 28 August 1998 / Accepted: 8 March 1999