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Predation on feather stars by regular echinoids as evidenced by laboratory and field observations and its paleobiological implications

Angela Stevenson, Forest J. Gahn, Tomasz K. Baumiller and George D. Sevastopulo
Predation on feather stars by regular echinoids as evidenced by laboratory and field observations and its paleobiological implications
Paleobiology (May 2017) 43 (2): 274-285

Abstract

Among extant crinoids, the feather stars are the most diverse and occupy the greatest bathymetric range, being especially common in reef environments. Feather stars possess a variety of morphological, behavioral and physiological traits that have been hypothesized to be critical to their success, especially in their ability to cope with predation. However, knowledge of their predators is exceptionally scant, consisting primarily of circumstantial evidence of attacks by fishes. In this study the question whether regular echinoids, recently shown to consume stalked crinoids, also consume feather stars is explored. Aquarium observations indicate that regular echinoids find feather stars palatable, including feather stars known to be distasteful to fish, and that regular echinoids can capture and eat live feather stars, including those known to swim. Gut-content analyses of the echinoid Araeosoma fenestratum (Thomson, 1872), which is commonly observed with large populations of the feather star Koehlermetra porrecta (Carpenter, 1888) in video transects from marine canyons off the coast of France, revealed elements of feather stars in the guts of 6 of 13 individuals. The high proportion of crinoid material (up to 90%), and the presence of articulated crinoid skeletal elements in the gut of A. fenestratum, suggest that these echinoids consumed at least some live crinoids, although they may have also ingested some postmortem remains found in the sediment. Additionally, photographic evidence from the northeast Atlantic suggests that another regular echinoid, Cidaris cidaris (Linnaeus, 1758), preys on feather stars. Thus in spite of the broad suite of antipredatory adaptations, feather stars are today subject to predation by regular echinoids and may have been since the Mesozoic, when this group of crinoids first appeared.


ISSN: 0094-8373
EISSN: 1938-5331
Coden: PALBBM
Serial Title: Paleobiology
Serial Volume: 43
Serial Issue: 2
Title: Predation on feather stars by regular echinoids as evidenced by laboratory and field observations and its paleobiological implications
Affiliation: Trinity College Dublin, School of Natural Sciences, Dublin, Ireland
Pages: 274-285
Published: 201705
Text Language: English
Publisher: Paleontological Society, Lawrence, KS, United States
References: 79
Accession Number: 2017-046230
Categories: Invertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: NSF grants EAR-0824793 and DEB-1036393
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table
N43°19'60" - N48°00'00", W08°00'00" - W01°10'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Brigham Young University-Idaho, USA, United StatesUniversity of Michigan at Ann Arbor, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, The Paleontological Society. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 201725
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