Feeding by asellote isopods (Crustacea) on foraminifers (Protozoa) in the deep sea

J. Svavarsson*, G. Gudmundsson, T. Brattegard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Analysis of gut contents of two deep-sea asellote isopod species, Ilyarachna hirticeps and Eurycope inermis (Munnopsidae, Asellota, Isopoda, Crustacea), showed that they were preying on benthic foraminifers. Benthic foraminifers with hard tests were more frequent in I. hirticeps guts than in E. inermis. I. hirticeps, having robust mandibles, is capable of crushing large calcareous and agglutinating foraminifers with hard tests. The presence of foraminiferal fecal pellets (stercomata), along with fine mineral particles and globigerinacean tests in I. hirticeps guts, shows that it was preying on the large, loosely agglutinating foraminifer, Oryctoderma sp. A. E. inermis swallowed whole, medium sized, calcareous foraminifers, which it apparently was unable to crush with its slender mandibles. The guts of E. inermis contained an abundance of mineral particles and globigerinacean tests. These are conjectured to be mashed remains of certain agglutinating foraminifers with soft tests, rather than being evidence of detritivory. It is suggested that feeding on foraminifers by asellotes may be common and may significantly affect the foraminiferal community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1225-1239
Number of pages15
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part I
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1993


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