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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 458:247-253 (2012)  -  DOI:

Shifting feeding behaviour of deep-sea buccinid gastropods at natural and simulated food falls

J. Aguzzi1,*, A. J. Jamieson2, T. Fujii2, V. Sbragaglia1, C. Costa3, P. Menesatti3, Y. Fujiwara4

1Marine Science Institute (ICM-CSIC), Paseo Maritímo de la Barceloneta, 37-49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
2Oceanlab, Institute of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Aberdeen, Main Street, Newburgh, Aberdeenshire AB41 6AA, UK
3Agricultural Engineering Research Unit of the Agriculture Research Council (CRA-ING), Via della Pascolare 16, 00015 Monterotondo Scalo (Roma), Italy
4Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), 2–15 Natsushima-Cho, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 237-0061, Japan

ABSTRACT: The deep sea is a low food input environment, hence large food falls from the surface waters are important in supporting a wealth of scavenging deep-sea fauna. The probability of observing such events is very low, due to their unpredictable and short-lived nature. The video system of a cabled observatory installed within a cold seep clam field in Sagami Bay (1100 m depth; Central Japan) recorded a rare event. We observed a fish dying directly in front of the camera and being immediately perceived and preyed upon by Buccinum yoroianum (Neogastropoda: Buccinidae), while still alive. Up to 76 large snails responded to the fish and consumed the carcass within ~8 h, with no intervention by decapod crustaceans. There was only small participation of eelpouts (Zoarcidae). For comparison, we report on supplementary findings from a different area and depth of the Pacific Ocean. These observations were recorded by a baited camera lander which simulated a food fall. Within 6 h, the buccinid Tacita zenkevitchi aggregated on the bait, competing with fishes. These observations confirm that deep-sea buccinids can shift their feeding behaviour between active predation and scavenging. Our perception, however, seems conditioned by the observational methodology we use: buccinids may appear as scavengers when using photography (e.g. by baited landers) producing single snapshots in time, or as predators when observed in a natural setting and video-taped continuously with a cabled observatory.

KEY WORDS: Buccinum yoroianum · Tacita zenkevitchi · Zoarcids · Cabled observatories · Landers · Baited cameras · Scavenging behaviour · Natural food falls

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Cite this article as: Aguzzi J, Jamieson AJ, Fujii T, Sbragaglia V, Costa C, Menesatti P, Fujiwara Y (2012) Shifting feeding behaviour of deep-sea buccinid gastropods at natural and simulated food falls. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 458:247-253.

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