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Feeding Behavior of the Primitive Shrimp, Procaris (Decapoda, Procarididae)

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Specimens of Procaris ascensionis and P. hawaiana were shipped alive from Ascension Island and Hawaii respectively, to Norfolk where they were maintained in aquaria for up to 10 months. The feeding behavior of these primitive shrimp lacking chelae differs from that of most other decapods. The pereiopods are not used for walking and food items are not selected by use of single or paired pereiopods. The feeding behavior resembles somewhat that of certain euphausiids, and pelagic sergestids, in which a feeding basket is formed by the pereiopods and large food particles thereby trapped are transferred to the mouth area. Specimens lacking three or more pereiopods are severely handicapped in feeding but regeneration of missing appendages can repair damage at a single molt. In captivity Procaris will feed upon larvae of other crustaceans such as Artemia, Crangon and Palaemonetes. There is some evidence that a major food for field populations may be atyid shrimps found in abundance in the same habitat. Feeding behavior is consistent with the suggestion that Procaris is derived from a pelagic ancestor.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Oceanography, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia 23508, U.S.A.


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