title for amphipod section of A SNAIL'S ODYSSEY
  Foods & feeding
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  Studies on caprellids are considered here, while ones on TALITRIDS and COROPHIIDS & AMPITHOIDS are dealt with elsewhere.
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Research study 1

photograph of amphipod Caprella kennerlyi courtesy Gary McDonald, UC Santa Cruz An early report on feeding by caprellids Caprella kennerlyi, Caprella laeviuscula, and C. californica at Friday Harbor Laboratories, Washington documents that diatoms, detritus, and likely protists are the primary dietary constituents.  Laboratory observations of a feeding caprellid sitting on a hydroid provide the following list of behaviours: bending rapidly, touching of head to the hydroid stem, and snapping quickly upright.  The author notes the presence of cleared patches on the stems following such behaviour, confirming the consumption of protists and diatoms.  Within a day after hatching, young C. laevuscula are noted to have brown guts from eating diatoms.  Saunders 1966 Crustaceana 10: 314. Photograph courtesy 2008 Gary McDonald, UC Santa Cruz, California and CALPHOTOS.

Amphipod Caprella kennerlyi
sitting on a hydroid stalk 3X

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Research study 2

Two caprellid species around Long Beach, California, Caprella californica and C. equilibra, exhibit a variety of feeding modes, including:  1) scraping organic matter, including detritus, diatoms, and protists from the substratum, 2) catching particles, including dead crustaceans as they float by, 3) capturing living crustaceans, mostly gammarid amphipods, and 4) drawing off food matter stuck to the 2nd antennae using gnathopods.

Crustacean food items removed from the gnathopods of feeding Caprella spp. include both of these caprellid species, as well as Corophium acherusicum and other gammarid amphipods, and isopods.  Although much of the solid structure of eaten foods is mutilated by the mandibles and triturating structures in the cardiac stomach, evidence of numerous protists is seen in some individuals.  Keith 1969 Crustaceana 16: 119.

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Research study 3

photograph of antennae of a caprellid amphipod Species of Caprella that primarily filter-feed and substrate-scrape can be identified by the presence of plumose setae on their 1st and 2nd antennae, especially the latter (see photo).  The overlapping setae entrap organic matter from the plankton, including phytoplankton.  This is scraped off by appendages around the mouth and ingested.  Apparently, filter-feeding occurs to some extent in all caprellids, even predatory species, as edible matter cleaned from the antennae may be ingested.  Scraping is common in most species studied and consists of removal of encrusting diatoms and detritus from the surface on which the amphipods are living by use of the antennae.  Caine 1977 Mar Biol 42: 331.


Note the plumose nature of the
2nd antennae of this caprellid 5X

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