, Volume 443, Issue 1–3, pp 69–86 | Cite as

Trophic diversity within the eastern Weddell Sea amphipod community

  • Patrick Dauby
  • Yves Scailteur
  • Claude De Broyer


Amphipod crustaceans form one of the most diversified animal groups within the Antarctic macrozoobenthos, both from the taxonomic point of view (more than 800 species have been recorded in the Southern Ocean) as by niche occupation and at the community level. Thus, amphipods are likely to play an important role in the organic matter fluxes that occur on the Antarctic sea floor. The dietary behaviour of these peracarids is still poorly known, and only few species have been analysed. This paper describes the trophic preferences of some dominant amphipod species of the Eastern Weddell Sea benthos, deduced from stomach content analyses and behavioural observations in aquaria. More than 1000 specimens, belonging to 40 species (representing 27 genera and 15 families) were dissected; and several thousands of individuals were kept in aquaria for 6–9 weeks and presented with various potential foods. These two approaches revealed at least eight different feeding types: suspension-feeding, deposit-feeding, deposit-feeding coupled with predation, opportunistic predation, micropredatory browsing, macropredation coupled with scavenging, opportunistic necrophagy and true necrophagy. These different behaviours cover almost all the possible feeding types with the exception of macroherbivorous browsing. Among the eight described feeding types, no particular one is dominant. In the same way, types involving microphagy and macrophagy are equally represented. Predatory types (opportunistic or exclusive) account for 64% of the species analysed, while scavenging types (facultative or obligate) account for 60%. The overlap suggests that many amphipod species have a wide dietary spectrum and are able to take advantage of different food resources.

Antarctic Weddell Sea benthos amphipods feeding behaviour diversity 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Dauby
    • 1
  • Yves Scailteur
    • 2
  • Claude De Broyer
    • 2
  1. 1.Département des Invertébrés (Carcinologie)Institut royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique (IRScNB)BrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Département des Invertébrés (Carcinologie)Institut royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique (IRScNB)BrusselsBelgium

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