Sapphirina iris Dana, 1849 and S. sinuicauda Brady, 1883 (Copepoda, Cyclopoida): predators of salps in Monterey Bay and the Gulf of California

in Crustaceana
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Species of the copepod genus Sapphirina Thompson, 1829 are deemed as specialized predators of salps. There are only a few documented records of such copepods actually found within their prey. During two cruises of the R/V “Western Flyer” of MBARI (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute), SCUBA diving was used to sample the zooplankton in Monterey Bay and the Gulf of California. An ovigerous female of Sapphirina iris Dana, 1849 and a male of S. sinuicauda Brady, 1883 were collected inside aggregate zooids of the salp Pegea confoederata (Forskål, 1775). Also, two adult females of S. iris were recorded inside P. socia (Bosc, 1802); both were lodged near the orifices they made to enter the salp’s body. This is the first documented record of the association involving these sapphirinid copepods lodged in their prey. The high number of eggs of the female S. iris supports the suggestion that sapphirinids have a higher fecundity than that of other planktonic copepods, an adaptive strategy related to their mode of life. The find of the male S. sinuicauda attached inside the salp differs from earlier observations on the behaviour of sapphirinid males.


International Journal of Crustacean Research



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  • A, Ovigerous female of Sapphirina iris Dana, 1849 in the atrial cavity of the salp Pegea confoederata (Forskål, 1775) from the Gulf of California, specimens photographed in vivo; B, two adult females of Sapphirina iris from Monterey Bay found attached to the endostyle of Pegea socia (Bosc, 1802) showing entrance orifices (arrowed), specimens photographed in vivo; C, adult male of Sapphirina sinuicauda Brady, 1883 in Pegea confoederata (different zooid individual of the aggregation), lateral view; D, detail of S. sinuicauda grasped by its maxillipeds to the endostyle ridge of the salp P. confoederata; E, male of S. sinuicauda after being removed from salp prey, dorsal view. Photos by Rebeca Gasca. This figure is published in colour in the online edition of this journal, which can be accessed via

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  • Sapphirina sinuicauda Brady, 1883, appendages of the adult male from the salp Pegea confoederata (Forskål, 1775) in the Gulf of California: A, antenna; B, maxillule; C, maxilliped; D, leg 2, third endopodal segment; E, urosome and caudal rami, dorsal view; F, caudal ramus, ventral view. Scale bars: A-D, F = 0.1 mm; E. 0.5 mm.

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