Marine Biology

, Volume 126, Issue 4, pp 619–632 | Cite as

Specialized feeding mechanism in the pelagic copepod genus Heterorhabdus (Calanoida: Heterorhabdidae), with special reference to the mandibular tooth and labral glands

  • S. Nishida
  • S. Ohtsuka


Scanning and transmission electron microscopy and gut-content analysis revealed the fine structure of the mandibular ventralmost tooth and labral glands of the carnivorous copepods Heterorhabdus spp. on the basis of the specimens collected in the waters near Nansei Islands, Southwestern Japan, in November 1993. The ventralmost tooth is hollow with a subterminal pore and a basal opening. The distal region of the tooth is like a hypodermic needle and is strengthened by opal layers. The tip of the tooth including the subterminal pore usually protrudes from between the labrum and the paragnath, while the basal region of the ventralmost tooth and the whole parts of the other teeth are semi-enclosed in the preoral food chamber formed by the labrum and the paragnath. There is a large glandular cell in the basal region of the mandibular gnathobase, but no direct connection exists between the gnathobasal cells and the tubular lumen of the ventralmost tooth. The posterior surface of the labrum carries a lateral pair of large glandular pores, which are located close to, and appear to fit exactly the basal openings of the ventralmost teeth. Each of these glands has two massive secretory cells, and the secretory materials from these cells appear to be mixed before discharge from the pore. A specialized feeding mechanism is proposed, wherein venom or anaesthetic is injected from the labral-gland pores into the tubular lumen of the mandibular ventralmost tooth, and then relcased into the prey from its subterminal pore immediately after capture using the stout maxillae of prey macrozooplankters such as copepodids and polychaetes.


Polychaete Basal Region Basal Opening Posterior Surface Glandular Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Nishida
    • 1
  • S. Ohtsuka
    • 2
  1. 1.Ocean Research InstituteUniversity of TokyoNakanoJapan
  2. 2.Fisheries LaboratoryHiroshima UniversityTakeharaJapan

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