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The diel migrations and distributions within a mesopelagic community in the northeast atlantic 2. vertical migrations and feeding of mysids and decapod crustacea


, : The diel migrations and distributions within a mesopelagic community in the northeast atlantic 2. vertical migrations and feeding of mysids and decapod crustacea. Progress in Oceanography 13(3-4): 269-318

Vertical migration and feeding patterns are analyzed for the mysid Eucopia unguiculata and the decapods Acanthephyra purpurea, A. pelagica, Systellaspis debilis, Gennadas elegans, G. valens, Sergestes arcticus, Sergia ?bisulcatus and S. japonicus. The vertical distribution of juvenile Pasiphaea multidentata is also described. The analysis is based upon samples taken at 4 different depths, 600, 450, 250 and 100 m, each of which was repeatedly fished for a period of 48 h. At least part of the adult population of E. unguiculata showed migration on 2 successive nights. E. unguiculata had a seasonal vertical migration at 44.degree.N 13.degree.W. Adult E. unguiculata fed continuously throughout their diel cycles. They apparently fed mostly at night than during the day and more intensively at the shallow end of their migration route. Much of their prey was fragmentary, but recognizable food consisted mainly of small copepods and coelenterates. All the species of decapods showed vertical migrations. The migrations of the 3 most abundant populations are analyzed in detail. Adult S. debilis migrated as a compact population, whereas juvenile S. debilis, spread up through the water column at dusk. G. elegans migrated similarly to juvenile Systellaspis. The migrations of all 3 populations were remarkably repetitious; those of Systellaspis remained regular over at least 14 days and those of Gennadas over 9 days. Migration rates can be calculated for the abundant populations. The migrations of Systellaspis were continuous throughout the day and possibly also during the night. The migration cycle of Gennadas was incompletely described since much of its population migrated down to depths below 600 m. Possible correlations between the different migration patterns and light are discussed. All the decapods in which the diet was analyzed fed continuously throughout the diel cycle, and most of them ate different prey at opposite ends of their migration routes. The diet of G. elegans included a high proportion of green detritus which probably originated from Radiolaria. TLC indicated the presence of chlorophyll or its break-down product phaeophytin in the foreguts of G. elegans. Apart from G. elegans, and possible selection according to size, no evidence of prey selectivity was found. Different migration patterns and/or different diets separate potentially competing species of decapod.

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