Skip to main content

Feeding mechanisms and possible resource partitioning of the caprellidae (Crustacea: Amphipoda) from Puget Sound, USA


Caprellid amphipods feed by browsing, filter-feeding, predation, scavenging, and scraping. Food acquisition is related to the presence or absence of plumose setae on the second antenna; those species with such setae obtain a significant amount of their diet from filtering and scraping periphyton while those species without such setae usually rely on predation. Two primary predators and 8 primary filter-feeders and scrapers were investigated. Substrates inhabited by the predators did not overlap, but some filter-feeders were found together. Feeding overlap has been decreased among filter-feeders that occur together, as they either feed on different sized particles or they filter at different heights from the substrate. Species filtering the same sized particles at the same heights that were found together utilized alternate feeding mechanisms, e.g. browsing on algal filaments.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Literature Cited

  1. Boyd, C.M.: Selection of particle sizes by filter-feeding copepods: a plea for reason. Limnol. Oceanogr. 21, 175–180 (1976)

    Google Scholar 

  2. Caine, E.A.: Comparative functional morphology of feeding in three species of caprellids (Crustacea: Amphipoda) from the northwestern Florida Gulf Coast. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 15, 81–96 (1974)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. —: Cleansing mechanisms of caprellid amphipods (Crustacea) from North America. Mar. Behav. Physiol. 4, 161–169 (1976)

    Google Scholar 

  4. Costa, A.: Note preliminaire sur l'ethologie alimentaire de deux caprellides de la Rade de Villefranche sur Mer. Trav. Stn zool. russe Villefranche 19, 103–105 (1960)

    Google Scholar 

  5. Keith, D.E.: Aspects of feeding in Caprella californica Stimpson and Caprella equilibra Say (Amphipoda). Crustaceana 16, 119–124 (1969)

    Google Scholar 

  6. —: Substrate selection in caprellid amphipods of Southern California, with emphasis on Caprella californica Stimpson and Caprella equilibra Say (Amphipoda). Pacif. Sci. 25, 387–394 (1971)

    Google Scholar 

  7. Laubitz, D.R.: Studies on the Caprellidae (Crustacea: Amphipoda) of the American North Pacific. Publs biol. Oceanogr. natn. Mus. Can. 1, 1–89 (1970)

    Google Scholar 

  8. —: The Caprellidae (Crustacea: Amphipoda) of the Atlantic and Arctic Canada. Publs biol. Oceanogr. natn. Mus. Can. 4, 1–82 (1972)

    Google Scholar 

  9. —: On the taxonomic status of the family Caprogammaridae Kudrjaschov & Vassilenko (Amphipoda). Crustaceana 31, 145–149 (1976)

    Google Scholar 

  10. — and E.L. Mills: Deep-sea Amphipoda from the western North Atlantic Ocean: Caprellidae. Can. J. Zool. 50, 371–383 (1972)

    Google Scholar 

  11. McCain, J.C.: The Caprellidae (Crustacea: Amphipoda) of the western North Atlantic. Bull. U.S. natn. Mus. 278, 1–147 (1968)

    Google Scholar 

  12. —: Familial taxa within the Caprellidae (Crustacea: Amphipoda). Proc. biol. Soc. Wash. 82, 837–842 (1970)

    Google Scholar 

  13. Patton, W.K.: Feeding habits, behavior and host specificity of Caprella grahami, an amphipod commensal with the starfish Asterias forbesi. Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 134, 148–153 (1968)

    Google Scholar 

  14. Saunders, C.G.: Dietary analysis of caprellids (Amphipoda). Crustaceana 10, 314–316 (1965)

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Additional information

Communicated by M.R. Tripp, Newark

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Caine, E.A. Feeding mechanisms and possible resource partitioning of the caprellidae (Crustacea: Amphipoda) from Puget Sound, USA. Mar. Biol. 42, 331–336 (1977).

Download citation


  • Food Acquisition
  • Resource Partitioning
  • Feeding Mechanism
  • Algal Filament
  • Possible Resource