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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT Phronimasedentaria is one of the most well-known and common hyperiid amphipods in the plankton, and its relationship with gelatinous zooplankton such as siphonophores, pyrosomes, and salps has been central to their invasion of the pelagic zone. These amphipods have adapted to the pelagic realm through various morphological, physiological, and behavioral specializations. Behavioral specializations include the formation of transparent barrels from salps, which they pilot through the water and on which they deposit their young (demarsupiation). Feeding behavior appears to vary with the consistency of the gelatinous organism being ingested. Pereiopods 3 and 4 are used to pick and pull soft-bodied prey toward the mouth, where the mouthparts may remove smaller pieces and push them into the esophagus. If the tissue is somewhat tough, pereiopods 1-3 hold the tissue across the mouthcone area where the mandible can bite and tear off small pieces. On the other hand, if the material is fairly fluid (e.g., salp stomach contents), the mouthparts flatten against the wall of the mouthcone and the contents are sucked into the foregut using the muscles of the esophagus and gut. The internal anatomy is roughly similar to other described amphipods but differs in certain respects. The digestive system differs from the generalized amphipod as depicted by McLaughlin (1980) in that the foregut is reduced and completely enclosed by a midgut chamber. The midgut caeca are reduced in size. The brain is circumesophageal and has four pairs of major nerves, which lead to the dorsal and ventral compound eyes, ventral nerve cord, and antennules. The reproductive and circulatory systems are described.


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