Mehrotra. et al. 2015. A large gape facilitates predation on salps by Heteropsammia corals

Check out this short article published in the Journal of Marine Biodiversity, written by our team:

Mehrotra R, Scott CM, Hoeksema BW. 2015. A large gape facilitates predation on salps by Heteropsammia corals. Marine Biodiversity. DOI: 10.1007/s12526-015-0379-8.

 

Coral eating a tuinicate

A Heteropsammia coral with a greatly enlarged mouth swallows a salp (cropped from Mehrotra et al. 2015)

Abstract

“On 25 June 2014, a large number of small free-living Heteropsammia cochlea (Spengler, 1781) corals were observed feeding on salps on the sandy seafloor at a depth of 14min Leuk Bay, Koh Tao, Gulf of Thailand (N 0°04′08.9″, E 099°50′31.6″). Over 100 corals showed different stages of salp consumption (at least 150 individuals) without any signs of rejection. Most captured salp zooids were solitary, and a few were part of short chains. They likely belonged to Iasis cylindrica (Cuvier, 1804), because of the stolon projecting forward (pers. comm. R.W.M. van Soest). During succeeding observations (March-
June 2015), H. cochlea individuals were observed again feeding on such short salp chains (2–4 individuals).”

 

You can learn more about this paper, and about the role of the free living corals and sea salps in this article from our website.