Trophic Strategy

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Neanthes succinea is opportunistic in its feeding. The jawed, eversible proboscis is used primarily to ingest sediment deposits, but it is also capable of grazing some plant material and of facultative capture of small invertebrates (Craig et al. 2003). Small amphipods and polychaetes have been found in N. succinea gut contents (NIMPIS 2006).Fong (1987) conducted gut analyses of deposit-feeding N. succinea from San Francisco Bay. The authors observed that individuals consumed a wide range (20-300 ¦#181;m) and that deposit feeding appeared to be largely non-selective feeding. Fauchald and Jumars (1979) indicate the species is primarily a sediment surface feeder.Cammen (1980) estimated that approximately one-fourth of the organic carbon requirement of North Carolina N. succinea is microbial in origin, with additional sources of carbon derived from direct uptake of plant substratum, ingestion of meiofauna, and possibly uptake of dissolved organic matter. Competitors: Dietary resources are generally not believed to be limiting to members of the soft sediment deposit feeding guild. As a result competition for dietary resources is not likely to be severe for clam worms. Predators: A variety of predaceous birds and fish feed extensively on benthic Neanthes succinea (Detwiler et al. 2002). Bishop and Miglarese (1978) observed striped mullet (Mugil cephalus) feeding on swarming water column N. succinea at James Island, South Carolina. Perry and Uhler (1988) reported N. succinea was a minor component in the diet of canvasback geese (Aythya valisineria) wintering on Chesapeake Bay.Water column larvae are vulnerable to predation by fish and birds (Craig et al. 2003). Habitats: Neanthes succinea occupies a variety of marine and estuarine intertidal to subtidal infaunal and epifaunal habitats including sand and mud bottoms, seagrass meadows, rocky benthic areas, mussel and oyster beds, and dock pilings (Orth 1973, Craig et al. 2003). Hines and Comtois (1985) report that individuals occurred primarily deeper than 5 cm, with peak abundance between 10-15 cm.Kaplan et al. (1975) note that N. succinea and other large, mobile species are among the macrobenthos that are quickest to re-colonize sediments that had been disturbed by dredging. Activity Time: Neanthes succinea is an active forager primarily at night, spending most of the day in a mucous-lined tube (Craig et al. 2003).


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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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