Marine Biology

, Volume 123, Issue 1, pp 131–136 | Cite as

Life history of the nematode Theristus anoxybioticus from sublittoral muddy sediment at methane seepages in the northern Kattegat, Denmark

  • P. Jensen


Field and laboratory studies from 1989 to 1994 of the nematode Theristus (Penzancia) anoxybioticus Jensen, 1995 inhabiting muddy sediment at methane seepages in the northern Kattegat, Denmark, have revealed a series of biological features of adults and juveniles not observed before in free-living marine nematodes. Reproductive adults were present in April and May only and inhabited the uppermost cm of sediment, while juveniles inhabited deep anoxic and sulphidic sediment layers during the remaining months of the year. This points to a downwards migration of newly hatched juveniles and an upwards migration during adulthood. Gut content analyses showed that adults feed mainly on benthic diatoms by swallowing whole cells while juveniles probably feed on bacteria; this differentiation in food clearly relates to the main bulk of potential food items in their respective microhabitats. The generation time is estimated to be one year, with a juvenile life span of about nine months, which is four to eight times longer than that found in related aerobic species of similar body size. Adults survived in oxic water but 50% died within 15 h in hypoxic water (5 to 6% atm sat), and all died within 12 h in anoxic water. Juveniles on the other hand died within 0.5 h in oxic water but survived anoxic water for at least 15 d. These results suggest that juveniles of T. anoxybioticus are adapted to an anaerobic life style.


Benthic Diatom Muddy Sediment Upward Migration Anoxic Water Marine Nematode 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Jensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Biological LaboratoryUniversity of CopenhagenHelsingørDenmark

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