Wednesday, 17 June 2015 01:22

A Hitch Hikers Guide to the Reefs - The Zooplankton

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By Charles & Linda Raabe
Mactan Island, The Philippines© 2009  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

  At one time or another, usualy just after the addition of live rock or live sand, every one of us has noticed what looks like little "bugs" running or swimming around all over the place, usualy after the tank has been dark for some time. While few are large enough to make out any details, the use of a magnifynig glass while holding a flashlight against the side of the tank will open up a new, tiny world to you. 
POD ARTICLES
     The COPEPODS   ( Kope = Greek for "oar"    Podos = Greek for "foot" )

   Additional Links -  World of Copepoda    Introduction to Copepods    A Harpacticoid Identification Key

     Harpacticoid family - Harmless detrivores. (some are carrying eggs as well)
 
    copepods1copepods2copepods3

      
   copepod4copepod5copepod6      
      
  copepod9copepod10copepod11
 
  copepod15copepod16copepod17 
 
  copepod18copepod19copepod20
 
  copepod7copepod8crawlingbug    
       
                     
  Cyclopoida Family - Harmless phytoplankton grazers and are what I believe to be the best food source when trying to rear shrimp larvae as this group does not crawl the glass or sand and remains in mid-water which makes them available to free swimming, plankton larvae as a food source. I find these copepods in huge swarms during the day out on the reef's kelp beds, making collection of them very easy. I believe this family of copepods is available for purchase.
                     (with eggs)                                                                                                     (without eggs)
 
 copepod12copepod13copepod14
 
         Calanoid Family - Compared to other copepod species, these can appear quite large and are a very important food source for many fish. The small copepod shown below in the first photo is an adult Cyclopoida species as a size reference.          
 
   calanoidcalanoid1calanoid2
 
The AMPHIPODS   ( Amphi  = Greek for "both sides"    Podos = Greek for "foot"

   
Additional Links -  Amphipod Identification Key    Amphipod biology          
 
   amphipodamphipod1amphipod2
 
  amphipod3amphipod4amphipod5
 
  amphipod6amphipod7amphipod8
         
          Caprellid Amphipod  ( Skeleton Shrimp )  
 
   caprellidcaprellid2caprellid1
     
                                                                        Below :  Head structures                                               Below:  Legs 
  caprellid3caprellid4caprellid5

         Phliantidae (An amphipod) -  Can be difficult to identify as they resemble Isopods.
 
  phliantidaephliantidae1phliantidae2
      
    The  ISOPODS  -  ( Iso = Greek for "uniform or the same"    Podos = Greek for "foot" )  Some species of this family group are parasitic / predatory. Any large specimens should be investigated.    Additional Links  -  Parasitic Isopods         
 
The Cirolanid family of Isopods, Some Cirolanid species are obligate parasites, other species are strictly scavengers, and some are a combination of both. The vast majority of Cirolanids seen in the aquarium hobby seem to be obligate parasites of fish.             
 
  isopodisopod10isopod11
 
The Sphaeromatidae family of Isopods, considered harmless in the reef aquaria.     
 
  isopod2isopod1isopod3
 
  isopod4isopod5isopod6 
      
    Munnid Isopods - Harmless herbivores.  
 
  isopod7isopod8isopod9
 
  munnidmunnid1munnid2    
      
    An Anthurid Isopod  - Carrying its young. Most likely a predator of other small animals.   
 
  anthuridanthurid1anthurid2   
 
  anthurid3anthurid4anthurid5
      
    The CUMACEANS -  These are animals related to mysids, tanaids, ispods, etc., that are specialized to live in sediments and most appear to eat detritus.       
      
  cumaceancumacean1cumacean2   
 
  cumacean3cumacean4cumacean5 
 
  cumacean6cumacean7cumacean8
                     

    The Tanaidaceans - Some are harmless grazers and others appear to be more predatory.      
 
  tanaidtanaid1tanaid2     
 
  tanaid3tanaid4tanaid5 
 
  tanaid6tanaid7tanaid8
      
     The Ostracodes  - Commonly called Seed Shrimp. A crustacean, and some are quite reminiscent of clams in their general shape. Most are considered to be detritivores. Extremely small animals and are usualy only seen when they swim to a new location.   
 
  ostracodeostracode1ostracode2    
 
  ostracode3ostracode4ostracode5
      
   Below, a female carrying larvae.
      
  ostracode6ostracode7ostracode8
 
  ostracode9ostracode10ostracode11
      
    The Halacarid Mites -  The only mite family completely adapted to life in the sea. With over one thousand species belonging to this family and having an assortment of body plans,  species identification is extremely difficult. 
 
  mite
  
    The Swarmers  -  The majority of what appears to be very small worms swimming out in the open will in fact turn out to be a specialized worm segment whose sole purpose is to get out into the currents and release its payload of eggs or sperm. For more information on these, please see the worm's hitch hiker page. 
 
  epitoke2epitokeepitoke1
      
   Prior to segmented release of Epitoke           Free swimming Epitoke                    Another free swimming Epitoke    
 
  swarmerswarmer1swarmer2
  
    A swarming Phylodocid found within my aquarium at night. It is less than 1 mm in length but still visible as being a worm.  
 
  syllidepitokesyllidepitoke1
  
   A Syllid Epitoke which was formed at the posterior end of a worm which then breaks off and swims away with the eggs it is tasked with to carry and release into the drifting plankton. The eggs are the green spheres shown above. 

  The  LARVAE  -  There are multitudes of species within the ocean that release their eggs / young to drift and feed with the oceans currents, only to drop out and settle down into new territory. I will post what each specimen is most likely to be, (thanks Dr. Ron) when possible.                 
 
   Larval Shrimp                                     Cladonema sp.  (jellyfish)                         Larval Mantis Shrimp 
 
  larvaejelly1larvae1
      
               Box crab Larvae                                Unknown crab larvae                      Thalassinidean shrimp larvae
 
  sandcrab3larvae2thalas5
      
            A free swimming snail                             A Gastropod larvae                         An extremely small worm
 
swimsnailswimsnail1larvae3
      
      Either a clam or scallop species        A Peritrich (colonial ciliated protozoan       A Cyprid (Barnacle larval stage)
 
  larvae4peritrichcyprid
      
© 2009  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
All content and photographs are CopyRight Protected

and may not be used, copied or reproduced elsewhere
without permission of the authors
 
Used by permission.  Many thanks to Charlies and Linda Raabe for their support.  www.chucksaddiction.com
Read 960 times Last modified on Saturday, 12 March 2016 14:30
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