Predation by the epipelagic heteropod mollusk Carinaria cristata forma japonica
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- Seapy, R.R. Marine Biology (1980) 60: 137. doi:10.1007/BF00389157
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In surface waters off Southern California (USA), Carinaria cristata forma japonica van der Spoel, 1972 feeds on a variety of zooplankton, although thaliaceans, chaetognaths, and copepods predominate numerically in the diet. Feeding intensity is greatest on the most abundant of two species of thaliaceans, depending on which one dominates in the plankton at the time. Some cannibalism occurs, with the prey being about one half the size of the predator. Feeding intensity is greatest during the day, possibly because heteropods depend on vision to locate prey and because prey species are more available by day. Comparisons of the proportion of each prey species in the diet and in the plankton indicate preferential feeding on thaliaceans, chaetognaths, and mollusks; in contrast, crustaceans and especially the copepods are non-preferred prey. These preference patterns may reflect differences among prey species in the ability to escape capture. Predator and prey size are positively correlated for Doliolum denticulatum gonozoids and oozoids, Thalia democratica aggregates, and Sagitta spp. Smaller individuals of D. denticulatum gonozoids and Sagitta spp. are selectively preyed on, resulting in size refuges for larger individuals.