Marine Biology

, Volume 104, Issue 1, pp 101–107 | Cite as

Habitat selection in the tropical polychaeteSpirobranchus giganteus

III. Effects of coral species on body size and body proportions
  • W. Hunte
  • J. R. Marsden
  • B. E. Conlin


Total body weight, tube length, abdomen weight and branchial crown weight of individualSpirobranchus giganteus (Pallas) living on four different coral species on the bank reef on the west coast of Barbados were investigated in 1986. Worms onDiploria strigosa were larger in all size parameters than those onMontastrea annularis, which were larger than those onMontastrea cavernosa, which were larger than those onPorites porites. The differences between worms onM. annularis andM. cavernosa were not significant. Variation in worm size on the different corals could result from variation in mortality and/or variation in growth. Whichever the case, larger worms may have higher lifetime reproductive success. Abdomen weight is an index of gamete production inS. giganteus, and increases with increasing body weight for worms on all corals. Moreover, larger worms do not have lower abdomen weight at a given body size than smaller worms. This may imply that faster growth does not reduce gamete production at body size. The coral species on which worms are largest are those most preferred by worm larvae in the laboratory and most heavily colonised by adult worms in the field. The results suggest adaptive habitat selection by planktonic larvae ofS. giganteus.


Habitat Selection Adult Worm Coral Species Total Body Weight Increase Body Weight 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Hunte
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. R. Marsden
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. E. Conlin
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.The Bellairs Research Institute of McGill UniversitySt. JamesBarbados

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