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Functional Morphology of Prey Ingestion by Placetron wosnessenskii Schalfeew Zoeae (Crustacea: Anomura: Lithodidae)
Jennifer A. Crain
Vol. 197, No. 2, Centennial Issue: October, 1899-1999 (Oct., 1999), pp. 207-218
Published by: Marine Biological Laboratory
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1542616
Page Count: 12
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The relationship between the morphology and functions of the feeding appendages of first-stage zoeae of the lithodid crab Placetron wosnessenskii Schalfeew during ingestion is explored in this study. The preoral chambers of these zoeae are bordered on all sides, with the labrum and mandibles forming the anterior borders, the paragnaths and sternal projection together creating the posterior boundaries, and the maxillules forming the sides. The maxillules are the sole pair of appendages responsible for prey manipulation immediately preceding ingestion. Maxillules are capable of remarkable plasticity of movement, enabling them to grasp, control, and redirect violently struggling prey (Artemia sp. metanauplii). The asymmetrical mandibles tear and grind the prey, working against each other with rotating motions. Two separate ratchet-like coordinations of the appendages were seen, each of which enabled the zoea to maintain a firm grasp on the prey while renewing points of leverage for ingestion. The mandibles hold prey in position while the maxillules regrab it to push it farther into the mouth. Similarly, the labrum holds the prey while the mandibles prepare for a new grinding rotation. Capture and ingestion of an algal cell by a rapid outward flinging and inward clasping of the mouthparts was seen in one videotaped sequence. Gut fluorescence after introduction of various algal species reveals an ability to ingest a range of particle sizes. This plasticity of feeding behaviors allows the zoeae to ingest a range of food items, and thus meet their nutritional needs.
Biological Bulletin © 1999 Marine Biological Laboratory