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Function of Mouthparts in Feeding Behavior of Phyllosoma Larvae of the Packhorse Lobster, Jasus Verreauxi (Decapoda: Palinuridae)

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Abstract Stage IV phyllosoma larvae of the packhorse lobster, Jasus verreauxi (H. Milne Edwards, 1851), were observed while feeding to determine the processing ability and involvement of mouthparts. Phyllosomata were presented live brine shrimp, Artemia salina (Linnaeus, 1758), mussel flesh, Perna canaliculus (Gmelin, 1791), and jellyfish, Aurelia sp., and were given chemical or tactile stimulation to induce a feeding response. Larvae were observed tearing their food with maxillipeds 2 and 3, before maceration by maxillipeds 2 and maxillae 1, mastication by mandibles and labrum, and subsequent ingestion of finer particles via a suction action induced by foregut contractions. Phyllosomata became entangled in food material and did not feed when provided soft tissue, such as jellyfish and mussel gonad. Maxilliped action increased when larvae were provided with harder prey, which indicated greater energetic investment required to process the food. Our observations suggest that phyllosomata are capable of processing fleshier prey items than Artemia, which is traditionally used as food in artificial culture. An ideal food source for phyllosomata should not readily break up and foul the water, should be free of microbes, and should be energetically economical to capture and masticate.

Affiliations: 1: a (MN)(DR) Department of Zoology, University of Tasmania, GPO Box 252-05, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia (corresponding author (MN) ; 2: c (SC) Institute of Aquatic and Atmospheric Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, Private Bag 92019, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand ( ; 3: b (DR;


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