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Feeding preferences of amphipod crustaceans Ampithoe ramondi and Gammarella fucicola for Posidonia oceanica seeds and leaves
Inés Castejón-Silvo, Damià Jaume, Jorge Terrados

The functional importance of herbivory in seagrass beds is highly variable among systems. In Mediterranean seagrass meadows, macroherbivores, such as the fish Sarpa salpa and the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus, have received most research attention, so published evidence highlights their importance in seagrass consumption. The role of small crustaceans in seagrass consumption remains less studied in the region. Herbivory on Posidonia oceanica seeds has not previously been reported. In turn, crustacean herbivory on P. oceanica leaves is broadly recognized, although the species feeding on the seagrass are mostly unknown (except for Idotea baltica). This work evaluates P. oceanica consumption by two species of amphipod crustaceans commonly found in seagrass meadows. Ampithoe ramondi and Gammarella fucicola actively feed on P. oceanica leaves and seeds. Both species preferred seeds to leaves only when the seed coat was damaged. This study provides the first direct evidence of consumption of P. oceanica seeds by the two named amphipod crustaceans, and confirms that they also consume leaves of this seagrass species.

Keywords: herbivory; mechanical traits; nutritional quality; invertebrate food choice; crustacean; gammarid
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 83(4) : 349-356 Back PDF
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