Vol. 53, 2014
Diet of the sea anemone Anthopleura
and variation between daytime and nighttime high tides
J Quesada1*, Fabián H Acuña2 and Jorge Cortés1
de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR), Ciudad de la
Investigación, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, San José
11501-2060, Costa Rica
2Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras,
CONICET, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional
de Mar del Plata, Funes 3250, Mar del Plata 7600, Argentina
Background: The diverse feeding
habits of sea anemones have led them to be classified as opportunistic
polyphagous predators. However, most studies have focused on the diet
of temperate sea anemones, and little is known about the trophic
ecology of tropical species and their role in tropical ecosystems. We
studied the diet of the intertidal sea anemone Anthopleura nigrescens by examining the gut
contents of specimens collected at two sites on Costa Rica’s Pacific
coast, testing for differences in prey items captured between daytime
and nighttime high tides.
Results: We found 25 prey items including:
mollusks, crustaceans, annelids, insects and eggs. Juvenile bivalves,
barnacle cyprids, and copepods were the main prey items. The anemones
at Playa Dominical captured significantly more juvenile bivalves during
nighttime high tides, and those at Mata de Limón captured more cyprids
during daytime high tides.
Conclusions: This study shows that A. nigrescens is an opportunistic
polyphagous predator, like most of its temperate counterparts.
Key words: Anthopleura
nigrescens; Costa Rica;
Diet; Pacific; Prey; Sea anemone; Trophic ecology.
*Correspondence: E-mail: email@example.com