Shifting feeding behaviour of deep-sea buccinid gastropods at natural and simulated food falls

J Aguzzi, AJ Jamieson, T Fujii, V Sbragaglia, C Costa, P Menesatti, Y Fujiwara
2012 Marine Ecology Progress Series  
The deep sea is a low food input envir onment, hence large food falls from the surface waters are important in suppor ting a wealth of scavenging deep-sea fauna. The pr obability of observing such events is ver y low, due to their unpr edictable and short-lived nature. The video system of a cabled obser vatory installed within a cold seep clam field in Sagami Bay (1100 m depth; Central Japan) recorded a rare event. We observed a fish dying directly in front of the camera and being immediately
more » ... being immediately perceived and preyed upon by Buccinum yoroianum (Neo gastropoda: Buccinidae), while still alive. Up to 76 large snails responded to the fish and consumed the carcass within ~8 h, with no inter vention by decapod cr ustaceans. There was only small par ticipation of eelpouts (Zoarcidae). For comparison, we report on supplementary findings from a different area and depth of the Pacific Ocean. These obser vations were recorded by a baited camera lander which simulated a food fall. W ithin 6 h, the buccinid Tacita zenkevitchi aggregated on the bait, competing with fishes. These observations confirm that deep-sea buccinids can shift their feeding behaviour between active pr edation and scavenging. Our perception, however, seems conditioned by the observational methodology we use: buccinids may appear as scavengers when using photography (e.g. by baited landers) pr oducing single snapshots in time, or as pr edators when observed in a natural setting and video-taped continuously with a cabled observatory. KEY WORDS: Buccinum yoroianum · Tacita zenkevitchi · Zoarcids · Cabled observatories · Landers · Baited cameras · Scavenging behaviour · Natural food falls Resale or republication not permitted without written consent of the publisher
doi:10.3354/meps09758 fatcat:qxpdhsawc5hdnk7wlcgv5lgmzm