Marine Biology

, Volume 146, Issue 6, pp 1199–1206 | Cite as

Life in a warm deep sea: routine activity and burst swimming performance of the shrimp Acanthephyra eximia in the abyssal Mediterranean

  • D. M. Bailey
  • P. M. Bagley
  • A. J. Jamieson
  • A. Cromarty
  • M. A. Collins
  • A. Tselepidis
  • I. G. Priede
Research Article


Measurements of routine swimming speed, “tail-flip” escape responses, and oxygen consumptions were made of the deep-sea shrimp Acanthephyra eximia using autonomous landers in the Rhodos Basin at depths of up to 4,400 m and temperatures of 13–14.5°C. Routine swimming speeds at 4,200 m averaged 0.18 m s−1 or 3.09 body lengths s−1, approximately double those of functionally similar oceanic scavengers. During escape responses peak accelerations of 23 m s−2 or 630.6 body lengths s−2 were recorded, with animals reaching speeds of 1.61 m s−1 or 34.8 body lengths s−2. When compared to shallow-water decapods at similar temperatures these values are low for a lightly calcified shrimp such as A. eximia despite a maximum muscle mass specific power output of 90.0 W kg−1. A preliminary oxygen consumption measurement indicated similar rates to those of oceanic crustacean scavengers and shallower-living Mediterranean crustaceans once size and temperature had been taken into account. These animals appear to have high routine swimming speeds but low burst muscle performances. This suite of traits can be accounted for by high competition for limited resources in the eastern Mediterranean, but low selective pressure for burst swimming due to reductions in predator pressure.


  1. Albertelli G, Arnaud PM, Della Croce N, Drago N, Eleftheriou A (1992) The deep Mediterranean macrofauna caught by traps and its trophic significance. C R Acad Sci Paris Sér III 315:139–144Google Scholar
  2. Angilletta MJ, Wilson RS, Navas CA, James RS (2003) Tradeoffs and the evolution of thermal reaction norms. Trends Ecol Evol 18:234–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arnott SA, Neil DM, Ansell AD (1998) Tail-flip mechanism and size dependent kinematics of escape swimming in the brown shrimp Crangon crangon. J Exp Biol 201:1771–1784Google Scholar
  4. Bailey DM, Jamieson AJ, Bagley PM, Collins MA, Priede IG (2002) Measurement of in situ oxygen consumption of deep-sea fish using an autonomous lander vehicle. Deep Sea Res I 49:1519–1529CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bailey DM, Bagley PM, Jamieson AJ, Collins MA, Priede IG (2003) In situ investigation of burst swimming and muscle performance in the deep-sea fish Antimora rostrata. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 286:295–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Britton JC, Morton B (1994) Marine carrion and scavengers. Oceanogr Mar Biol Annu Rev 32:369–434Google Scholar
  7. Carrassón M, Matallanas J (2001) Feeding ecology of the Mediterranean spiderfish, Bathypterois mediterraneus (Pisces: Chlorophthalmidae), on the western Mediterranean slope. Fish Bull 99:266–274Google Scholar
  8. Carrassón M, Matallanas J (2002) Diets of deep-sea macrourid fishes in the western Mediterranean. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 234:215–228Google Scholar
  9. Cartes JE, Maynou F (1998) Food consumption by bathyal decapod crustacean assemblages in the western Mediterranean: predatory impact of megafauna and the food consumption-food supply balance in a deep-water food web. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 171:233–246Google Scholar
  10. Childress JJ (1995) Are there physiological and biochemical adaptations of metabolism in deep-sea animals? Trends Ecol Evol 10:30–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Christiansen B (1989) Acanthephyra sp. (Crustacea: Decapoda) in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea captured by baited traps. Senkenbergiana Marit 20:187–193Google Scholar
  12. Collins MA, Priede IG, Bagley PN (1999) In situ comparison of activity in two deep-sea scavenging fishes occupying different depth zones. Proc R Soc B 266:2011–2016CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Company JB, Sardà F (1998) Metabolic rates and energy content of deep-sea benthic decapod crustaceans in the western Mediterranean Sea. Deep Sea Res I 45:1861–1880CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cowles DL, Childress JJ, Wells ME (1991) Metabolic rates of midwater crustaceans as a function of depth of occurrence off the Hawaiian islands—food availability as a selective factor. Mar Biol 110:75–83Google Scholar
  15. Desbruyères D, Biscoito M, Caprais J-C, Colaço A, Comtet T, Crassous P, Fouquet Y, Khripounoff A, Le Bris N, Olu K, Riso R, Sarradin P-M, Segonzac M, Vangriesheim A (2001) Variations in deep-sea hydrothermal vent communities on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge near the Azores plateau. Deep Sea Res I 48:1325–1346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fraser KPP, Clarke A, Peck LS (2002) Low-temperature protein metabolism: seasonal changes in protein synthesis and RNA dynamics in the Antarctic limpet Nacella concinna Strebel 1908. J Exp Biol 205:3077–3086PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Galil BS, Goren M (1994) The deep sea levantine fauna—new records and rare occurrences. Senkenbergiana Marit 25:41–52Google Scholar
  18. Godø OR, Huse I, Michalsen K (1997) Bait defence behaviour of wolffish and its impact on long-line catch rates. ICES J Mar Sci 54:273–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Goldspink G (1998) Selective gene expression during adaptation of muscle to different physiological demands. Comp Biochem Physiol 120:5−15CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Guderley H, Johnston IA (1996) Plasticity of fish muscle mitochondria with thermal acclimation. J Exp Biol 1996:1311–1317Google Scholar
  21. Heilmayer O, Brey T (2003) Saving by freezing? Metabolic rates of Adamussium colbecki in a latitudinal context. Mar Biol 143:477–484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hsü KJ (1972) When the Mediterranean dried up. Sci Am 227:27–36Google Scholar
  23. James PL, Heck KL Jr (1994) The effects of habitat complexity and light intensity on ambush predation within a simulated seagrass habitat. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 176:187–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Johnson TP, Bennett AF (1995) The thermal acclimation of burst escape performance in fish: an integrated study of molecular and cellular physiology and organismal performance. J Exp Biol 198:2165–2175Google Scholar
  25. Johnston IA, Walesby NJ (1979) Evolutionary temperature adaptation and the calcium regulation of fish actomyosin ATPases. J Comp Physiol B 129:169–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Johnston IA, Clarke A, Ward P (1991) Temperature and metabolic rate in sedentary fish from the Antarctic, North Sea and Indo-West Pacific Ocean. Mar Biol 109:191–195Google Scholar
  27. Johnston I, Calvo J, Guderley H, Fernandez D, Palmer L (1998) Latitudinal variation in the abundance and oxidative capacities of muscle mitochondria in perciform fishes. J Exp Biol 201:1−12Google Scholar
  28. Jones EG, Tselepides A, Bagley PM, Collins MA, Priede IG (2003) Bathymetric distribution of some benthic and benthopelagic species attracted to baited cameras and traps in the eastern Mediterranean. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 251:75–86Google Scholar
  29. Kaartvedt S, Van Dover CL, Mullineaux LS, Wiebe PH, Bollens SM (1994) Amphipods on a deep-sea hydrothermal treadmill. Deep Sea Res I 41:179–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kils U (1979) Swimming performance and escape capacity of Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba. Meeresforschung 27:264–266Google Scholar
  31. Laver MB, Olsson MS, Endelman JL, Smith KL (1985) Swimming rates of scavenging deep-sea amphipods recorded with a free-vehicle video camera. Deep Sea Res I 32:1135–1142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lindström M, Fortelius W (2001) Swimming behaviour in Monoporeia affinis (Crustacean: Amphipoda) - dependence on temperature and population density. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 256:73–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Morton B, Yuen WY (2000) The feeding behaviour and competition for carrion between two sympatric scavengers on a sandy shore in Hong Kong: the gastropod Nassarius festivus (Powys) and the hermit crab, Diogenes edwardsii (De Haan). J Exp Marine Biol Ecol 246:1−29Google Scholar
  34. Nauen JC, Shadwick RE (1999) The scaling of acceleratory aquatic locomotion: body size and tail-flip performance of the California spiny lobster Panulirus interruptus. J Exp Biol 202:3181–3193PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. O’Steen S, Cullum AJ, Bennett AF (2002) Rapid evolution of escape performance in Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata). Evolution 56:776–784PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Peck LS (2002) Ecophysiology of Antarctic marine ectotherms: limits to life. Polar Biol 25:31–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Peck LS, Conway LZ (2000) The myth of metabolic cold adaptation: oxygen consumption in stenothermal Antarctic bivalves. In: Harper E, Crame AJ (eds) The evolutionary biology of bivalve molluscs. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 441–450Google Scholar
  38. Polunin NVC, Morales-Nin B, Pawsey WE, Cartes JE, Pinnegar JK, Moranta J (2001) Feeding relationships in the Mediterranean bathyal assemblages elucidated by stable nitrogen and carbon isotope data. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 220:13–23Google Scholar
  39. Por FD (1989) The legacy of Tethys. Kluwer Academic, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  40. Pörtner HO, Hardewig I, Peck LS (1999) Mitochondrial function and critical temperature in the Antarctic bivalve, Laternula elliptica. Comp Biochem Physiol A 124:179–189Google Scholar
  41. Priede IG, Bagley PM, Armstrong JD, Smith KL, Merrett NR (1991) Direct measurement of active dispersal of food-falls by deep-sea demersal fishes. Nature 351:647–649CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Priede IG, Deary AR, Bailey DM, Smith KL (2003) Low activity and seasonal change in population size structure of grenadiers in the oligotrophic abyssal Central North Pacific Ocean. J Fish Biol 63:187–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Psarra S, Tselepides A, Ignatiades L (2000) Primary productivity in the oligotrophic Cretan Sea (NE Mediterranean): seasonal and interannual variability. Prog Oceanogr 46:187–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ravaux J, Gaill F, Le Bris N, Sarradin P-M, Jollivet D, Shillito B (2003) Heat-shock response and temperature resistance in the deep-sea vent shrimp Rimicaris exoculata. J Exp Biol 206:2345–2354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rome LC, Funke RP, Alexander RM (1990) The influence of temperature on muscle velocity and sustained performance in swimming carp. J Exp Biol 154:163–178Google Scholar
  46. Shillito B, Jollivet D, Sarradin P-M, Rodier P, Lallier F, Desbruyères D, Gaill F (2001) Temperature resistance of Hesiolyra bergi, a polychaetous annelid living on deep-sea vent smoker walls. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 216:141–149Google Scholar
  47. Smith KL (1978) Metabolism of the abyssopelagic rattail Coryphanoides armatus, measured in situ. Nature 274:362–364Google Scholar
  48. Smith KL, Baldwin RJ (1982) Scavenging deep-sea amphipods: effects of food odor on oxygen consumption and a proposed metabolic strategy. Mar Biol 68:287–298Google Scholar
  49. Somero GN, Siebenaller JF (1979) Inefficient lactate dehydrogenases of deep-sea fishes. Nature 282:100–102Google Scholar
  50. Tamburri MN, Barry JP (1999) Adaptations for scavenging by three diverse bathyal species, Eptatretus stouti , Neptunea amianta and Orchomene obtusus. Deep-Sea Res I 46:2079–2093Google Scholar
  51. Temple GK, Johnston IA (1998) Testing hypotheses concerning the phenotypic plasticity of escape performance in fish of the family Cottidae. J Exp Biol 201:317–331Google Scholar
  52. Torres J, Childress J (1983) Relationship of oxygen consumption to swimming speed in Euphausia pacifica. 1. Effects of temperature and pressure. Mar Biol 74:79–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Treude T, Janßen F, Queisser W, Witte U (2002) Metabolism and decompression tolerance of scavenging lysianassoid deep-sea amphipods. Deep-Sea Res I 49:1281–1289Google Scholar
  54. Van Buskirk J, Relya RA (1998) Selection for phenotypic plasticity in Rana sylvatica tadpoles. Biol J Linn Soc 65:301–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wakeling JM, Johnston IA (1998) Muscle power output limits fast-start performance in fish. J Exp Biol 201:1505–1526PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Webb PW (1979) Mechanics of escape response in crayfish (Orconectes viridis). J Exp Biol 79:245–263Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. M. Bailey
    • 1
    • 2
  • P. M. Bagley
    • 1
  • A. J. Jamieson
    • 1
  • A. Cromarty
    • 1
  • M. A. Collins
    • 1
    • 4
  • A. Tselepidis
    • 3
  • I. G. Priede
    • 1
  1. 1.OceanlabUniversity of AberdeenNewburghUK
  2. 2.Marine Biology Research DivisionScripps Institution of OceanographyLa JollaUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Marine Biology of CreteIraklionGreece
  4. 4.British Antarctic SurveyNatural Environment Research CouncilCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations