Ophiuroids feeding on Phytoplankton


RECENTLY, Nagabhushanam and Colman1 have described carrion-eating by some species of ophiuroids including Ophiocomina nigra (Abild.) and Ophiothrix fragilis (Abild.), from observations both in the laboratory and in the sea, a phenomenon which has been recorded previously2,3. The two species mentioned as well as Ophiopholis aculeata (L.) have, however, been reported to feed on a wide range of food from seston and plankton to bottom invertebrates2,3. In particular, Ophiothrix fragilis and Ophiopholis aculeata are considered to be mainly suspension feeders4,5 (using strong ciliary currents6 in catching detritus), being also facultatively carnivorous. Of the species mentioned, Ophiocomina is anatomically well adapted for a carnivorous habit3. Nevertheless, all the species mentioned are considered to feed in essentially the same way2,3.

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ROUSHDY, H., HANSEN, V. Ophiuroids feeding on Phytoplankton. Nature 188, 517–518 (1960). https://doi.org/10.1038/188517b0

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