Benthic fauna in the hadal zone (6500-11,000 m) rely on maintaining sufficient locomotory activity to exploit a low, patchy and uniquely distributed food supply while exposed to high pressure, low temperatures and responding to predator-prey interactions. Very little is currently known about the locomotory capabilities of hadal fauna. In situ video footage of the isopod Rectisura cf. herculea (Birstein 1957) (Asellota, Munnopsidae) was obtained from 6945 and 7703 m deep in the Japan Trench (NW Pacific Ocean). Measurements of locomotion revealed routine walking speeds of 0.19±0.04 BL s-1 (mean ± s.d.), increasing to 0.33±0.04 BL s-1 if naturally perturbed by larger organisms. When immediately threatened by the presence of predators (decapod crustaceans), the isopods are capable of eliciting backward escape jumps and burst swimming escape responses of 2.6±1.5 BL s-1 and 4.63±0.9 BL s-1, respectively. These data suggest no significant reduction in locomotory capability despite the extreme depths in which they inhabit. These observations also revealed the isopod to be a bait-attending and aggregative species and suggest that it may not be obligatorily selecting infaunal food sources as previously thought.
- feeding behaviour
- hadal zone
- trench fauna
Jamieson, A. J., Fujii, T., & Priede, I. G. (2012). Locomotory activity and feeding strategy of the hadal munnopsid isopod Rectisura cf. herculea (Crustacea: Asellota) in the Japan Trench. Journal of Experimental Biology, 215, 3010-3017. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.067025