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Guerra-Garcia J.M.,University of Seville | Guerra-Garcia J.M.,Jun Zoological Research Center | Tierno de Figueroa J.M.,Jun Zoological Research Center | Tierno de Figueroa J.M.,University of Granada | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Sea Research

The gut contents of 2982 specimens of 33 amphipod families, 71 genera and 149 species were examined, representing a high percentage of amphipod diversity in the Iberian Peninsula. Material was collected mainly from sediments, algae and hydroids along the whole coast of the Iberian Peninsula from 1989 to 2011. Although detritus was the dominant food item in the majority of amphipods, gammarideans also included carnivorous (mainly feeding on crustaceans) and herbivorous species (feeding on macroalgal tissues). Our study revealed that general assignment of a type of diet for a whole family is not always adequate. Some families showed a consistent pattern in most of the studied species (Corophiidae, Pontoporeiidae. = detritivorous; Oedicerotidae, Phoxocephalidae, Stenothoidae. = carnivorous; Ampithoidae. = primarily herbivorous on macroalgae), but others included species with totally different feeding strategies. In general terms, detritivorous families were characterized by a stronger mandibular molar, while in carnivorous taxa this feature was less developed or reduced. The percentage of macroalgae in the digestive contents was associated in most cases with a reduction or loss of the mandibular palp. It seems that high trophic diversity in amphipods is a generalized trait along different ecosystems in all latitudes, and could be related to the ecological success of this group in marine benthic communities. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

Ros M.,University of Seville | Ros M.,Jun Zoological Research Center | Tierno de Figueroa J.M.,Jun Zoological Research Center | Tierno de Figueroa J.M.,University of Granada | And 7 more authors.
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

The trophic ecology of non-native species is a key aspect to understand their invasion success and the community effects. Despite the important role of caprellid amphipods as trophic intermediates between primary producers and higher levels of marine food webs, there is very little information on their feeding habits. This is the first comprehensive study on the trophic strategies of two co-occurring introduced caprellids in the Spanish coasts: Caprella scaura and Paracaprella pusilla. The diet of 446 specimens of C.scaura and 230 of P.pusilla was analyzed to investigate whether there were differences in the feeding habits in relation to habitat characteristics (natural vs artificial hard substrata), type of host substrata (bryozoans and hydroids) and native vs introduced distribution ranges (Brazil vs Spain). Results revealed differences in diet preferences of the two species that have important implications for their trophic behaviour and showed a limited food overlap, which may favour their coexistence in introduced areas. In general terms, P.pusilla is a predator species, showing preference by crustacean prey in all of its life stages, while C.scaura feeds mainly on detritus. Although no sex-related diet shifts were observed in either of the species, evidence of ontogenetic variation in diet of C.scaura was found, with juveniles feeding on more amount of prey than adults. No diet differences were found between native and introduced populations within the same habitat type. However, P.pusilla exhibited a shift in its diet when different habitats were compared in the same distribution area, and C.scaura showed a flexible feeding behaviour between different host substrata in the same habitat type. This study shows that habitat characteristics at different scales can have greater influence on the feeding ecology of exotic species than different distribution ranges, and support the hypothesis that a switch between feeding strategies depending on habitat characteristics could favour invasion success. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Navarro-Barranco C.,University of Seville | Navarro-Barranco C.,Jun Zoological Research Center | Tierno-de-Figueroa J.M.,University of Granada | Tierno-de-Figueroa J.M.,Jun Zoological Research Center | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Sea Research

Marine caves are environments of great interest since the organisms that inhabit them are forced to develop specific adaptations to high constraint conditions. Because of some of these particular conditions, such as light absence or oligotrophy, it can be expected that feeding strategies into caves differ from that present outside them. Nevertheless, no studies have been done to compare the trophic structure of marine caves and open habitats, at least for amphipod communities, considering their importance both inside and outside of the caves. In this study, the diet of the dominant amphipod species living on shallow sediments, both inside and outside of six marine caves in western Mediterranean, was characterized. Thereby, the gut content of 17 amphipod species was studied, being this study the first attempt to establish the feeding habit of most of these species. Analysis of digestive contents of the species showed that amphipod diet is less diverse in sediments than in other environments, such as algae and seagrasses. No herbivorous species were found in the sediment and carnivorous amphipods showed a little variety of prey, feeding mainly on crustaceans. Differences in the trophic structure were also found between marine caves and open habitats sediments: while outside the caves detritivorous was the dominant group (both in number of species and number of individuals), amphipods mainly play the role of carnivorous inside the caves. No detritivorous species were found into the caves, where carnivorous represents almost 60% of amphipods species and more than 80% of amphipod individuals. This pattern obtained in amphipods differ from the general trend observed in marine cave organisms, for which a generalist diet, such as omnivory, usually is an advantage in these oligotrophic conditions. The possible causes of this pattern are discussed. © 2013. Source

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