Effect of diatom morphology on the small-scale behavior of the copepod Temora stylifera (Dana, 1849)

Gauri Mahadik, Claudia Castellani, Maria Grazia Mazzocchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We explored the small-scale behavior of the calanoid copepod Temora stylifera in relation to the diatoms Chaetoceros socialis, Leptocylindrus aporus, Leptocylindrus danicus and Pseudo-nitzschia calliantha offered as monospecific diets at similar carbon concentrations. These four diatoms are characterized by distinct size, shape and colony forming ability and are important components of the autumnal bloom co-occurring with the seasonal peak of T. stylifera abundance in Mediterranean coastal waters. High-speed video recordings showed that T. stylifera acquired cells in a suspension feeding mode while creating feeding currents. Copepod behavior was quantified in terms of feeding, motion, and grooming activities. T. stylifera spent more time in hovering than cruising in presence of all diets. The solitary L. aporus and P. calliantha elicited longer feeding bouts, lower appendage beat frequency and shorter grooming events compared to the colonial L. danicus and C. socialis. Overall the present results indicate that the behavioral responses of T. stylifera to different diatom diets were species-specific. The observed behavioral plasticity may help T. stylifera to adjust rapidly to changes in the food environment and this can be advantageous in exploiting short-lived phytoplankton blooms.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-48
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
StatePublished - May 12 2017
Externally publishedYes


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