MEPS 132:57-61 (1996)  -  doi:10.3354/meps132057

Development and lipid composition of the harpacticoid copepod Nitocra spinipes reared on different diets

Weiss GM, McManus GB, Harvey HR

We reared the harpacticoid copepod Nitocra spinipes on diets of bacteria, a diatom, or a macroalga, evaluating survivorship and growth in short-term (<=1 generation) experiments. Lipid content of the copepods and their diets was measured and used as an index of nutrition. Although growth, survivorship and lipid content of N. spinipes were significantly greater when fed the diatom, which had the highest lipid content of the 3 diets, the copepod was able to develop from egg to adult when fed a lipid-poor bacterial diet. Furthermore, this species was able to go through developmental molts without the addition of food (6 individuals from a starved cohort of 25 made it to at least copepodite stage I), suggesting the uptake of dissolved organic matter for growth. This widespread estuarine benthic copepod apparently has the ability to survive on diverse and nutritionally poor diets, a quality that is useful in a variable, detritus-dominated environment.


Copepod . Feeding . Lipid . Bacteria . Nutrition


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