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Gezeitenrhythmische Nahrungsaufnahme und Kotballenablage einer terrestrischen Milbe (Oribatei: Ameronothridae) im marinen Felslitoral

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Abstract

Feeding, locomotory and defecatory activity of the algivorous orbatid mite Ameronothrus marinus have been measured under defined conditions in the laboratory. Of terrestrial origin, these mites inhabit the intertidal zone of rocky shores along the North and Baltic Seas. Under daylight cycles found at the sampling site and in the absence of tides, feeding and defecation follow an endogenous rhythm with a spontaneous period of 12.3 h; in the tideless littoral of the Baltic Sea these activities are synchronized with diurnal cycles. Feeding and defecation follow a definite sequential pattern, repeated on the average every 4 h, i.e., 3 times between two high tides. The phase of this tidal feeding-defecation rhythm is determined by the onset of the high tide, and different patterns of this rhythm can be observed according to the tidal zones. Inhabitants of the lower eulittoral exposed to longer periods of submersion start feeding earlier, take up more food at one time before the beginning of high tide, quickly defecate part of the food undigested after feeding, and later produce other faecal pellets which contain the real remains of digestion. Inhabitants of the upper eulittoral, exposed to shorter periods of submersion, start feeding later and extend their feeding activity over the whole period of low tide; the difference between faecal pellets with digested and undigested contents is indistinct. The occurrence of these different types of faecal pellets in inhabitants of the intertidal zone is interpreted as a compensatory physiological adaptation resulting from increasing periods of submersion.

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Communicated by O. Kinne, Hamburg

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Schulte, G. Gezeitenrhythmische Nahrungsaufnahme und Kotballenablage einer terrestrischen Milbe (Oribatei: Ameronothridae) im marinen Felslitoral. Mar. Biol. 37, 265–277 (1976). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00387612

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