Original Papers


, Volume 77, Issue 3, pp 296-301

First online:

Studies of the life-history and energetics of marine and brackish-water nematodes

I. Demography of Monhystera disjuncta at different temperature and feeding conditions
  • G. VrankenAffiliated withMarine Biology Section, Zoology Institute, State University of Gent
  • , P. M. J. HermanAffiliated withDelta Institute for Hydrobiological Research
  • , C. HeipAffiliated withDelta Institute for Hydrobiological Research

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Aspects of the demography of Monhystera disjuncta were investigated at different temperatures (in agnotobiotic cultures) and in different feeding conditions (monoxenic cultures with different bacterial strains, and different densities in the feeding suspension with one strain). Embryonic development time, minimum generation time, egg deposition rate and adult longevity depend on temperature, quality and quantity of food offered. Body mass at maturity is an allometric function of food density. It is shown that a previously inferred selectivity in food uptake is an artifact of culture conditions. pH buffering and addition of sterols permit culture of the species on a wide variety of bacterial strains. M. disjuncta is less well adapted to take advantage of high food density than are nematodes from polysaprobic environments. The animals channel surplus energy intake into a larger body mass, without being able to increase their rate of population growth accordingly.

Key words

Nematodes Demography Feeding Meiobenthos Culture