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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 146:289-290 (1997)  -  doi:10.3354/meps146289

Wax-ester reserves facilitate dispersal of hydrothermal vent shrimps

Pond D, Dixon D, Sargent J

Late zoeal and early postlarval stages of vent shrimp (Rimicaris exoculata, Chorocaris chacei and Alvinocaris markensis), sampled from the water column above the Broken Spur vent site (mid-Atlantic Ridge), contained large amounts of bright orange coloured lipid in their thoracic and abdominal regions. The lipid comprised 75 to 82% wax ester, containing predominantly 16:0 and 18:1 fatty alcohols. In contrast, wax esters were found to be absent in samples of adult vent shrimp (R. exoculata and A. markensis). Substantial wax-ester reserves are a recognised adaptation to a prolonged bathypelagic, planktotrophic existence in deep-sea organisms where food is scarce and they have to survive extended periods without feeding. This characteristic is clearly of benefit to larval vent shrimp, which appear to be the main dispersal phase in the life history of these organisms, whose adult stages inhabit a strikingly ephemeral environment which is discontinuous in both space and time.

Hydrothermal vent shrimps · Larval dispersal · Wax esters

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