Feeding ecology of Apocyclops procerus (Copepoda, Cyclopoida) under experimental conditions

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  • 1 Departamento de Oceanografia, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Av. Prof. Moraes Rego 1235, Recife, PE-50670-901, Brazil

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Copepods are key links between primary producers and higher pelagics. We investigated, for the first time, under laboratory conditions, some aspects of the reproductive behaviour and feeding preferences of Apocyclops procerus (Copepoda: Cyclopoida) under different conditions of salinity and food supply. This is also its first record for Pernambuco (NE Brazil). The females carry their eggs until their eclosion and present several cycles of egg production without being further fecundated. Egg production and adult life span were not affected by differences in salinity or food supply. Offspring predation was also observed. From the three microalgae species offered to A. procerus individuals, Thalassiosira weissflogii, Chaetoceros muelleri (Ochrophyta) and Isochrysis galbana (Haptophyta), the small round-shaped I. galbana was preferred over the large and spiny diatoms, in spite of its lower nutritional value. The high salinity tolerance and apparently omnivorous feeding habits of A. procerus may enable it to predominate in estuarine waters.

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