While adult stomatopod crustaceans are relatively well studied, understanding of larval stomatopod ecology is lacking, largely due to difficulties studying larvae in their natural habitat. This study investigated how light environment (i.e., spectral composition) and time of day affected prey consumption in two species of larval stomatopod, Gonodactylaceus falcatus (Forskål, 1775) and Gonodactylellus sp. Individual larvae were placed with 20 Artemia nauplii prey in feeding chambers treated to produce different light environments with respect to ultraviolet (UV) light: full spectrum light UV+, full spectrum UV–, and a dark control. Chambers were lowered to a depth of 3 m for 2 hours at three times of day (noon, twilight, and night) to test 1) if larval feeding rates changed at different times of day and 2) if UV vision was involved in prey capture. We found that light was important for successful feeding, with both species eating significantly more in lighted treatments than the dark controls during daytime experiments. Gonodactylellus sp. also had a significantly higher feeding rate at twilight in the UV+ treatment than in the dark control. Both species showed decreased consumption at night compared to daytime rates, and decreased consumption in all dark controls. This study is one of the first to examine how ecological conditions affect feeding behavior in larval stomatopods. Our results suggest that light is important for larval stomatopod feeding, with differences between species in daily feeding activity periods. There was also a difference in total consumption between the two species, with the slightly larger Gonodactylaceus falcatus consuming nearly double the prey items as Gonodactylellus sp. at peak feeding times. Follow up studies should incorporate a variety of prey types to test how feeding changes based on food source and density.
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Frontiers in Physics
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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