Digestion rates of prey eaten by intertidal sea anemones from the south-western Cape, South Africa
AbstractDigestion rates were determined for natural prey items offered to each of seven species of sea anemones found at Wooley's Pool in False Say and to the single species (Bunodactis reynaudl) recorded at Siouberg on the Atlantic coast of the south-western Cape, South Africa.This was done by examining prey items removed from the coelenterons at regular intervals after feeding and assessing their degree of digestion according to a predetermined scale. There was considerable variation in the gut retention times between different anemone species offered the same prey types, with Actinia equina consistently showing the shortest gut retention times (12 h for amphipods, 15 h for pelecypods and 23 h for isopods). Of the various prey categories tested, amphipods tended to be the most rapidly digested group, while molluscs and echinoderms usually remained in the coelenteron the longest. Mean gut retention times in B. reynaudi, the only species found both in False Bay (1 TC) and on the cold west coast (12'C) were markedly longer (72 vs 60 hand 43 vs 30 h for pelecypods and gastropods respectively) at the lower temperature.
S. Afr. J. Zool. 1997,32(4)