Wood-eating squat lobsters of the deep

Deep-sea ecosystems do not receive enough light from the sun to fuel photosynthesis and inject energy into the food chain. Therefore, the myriad creatures inhabiting the deep subsist on either geo-chemical phenomena, such as hydrothermal vents and cold seeps, or food-fall from the surface. The epic TV documentaries “Blue Planet” and “Planet Earth” have displayed classic examples of this by sinking whales and fish and recording the subsequent feeding frenzies.

Recently, researchers have begun to describe deep-sea ecosystems based on trees that fall into the ocean and eventually sink. Mollusks are the most common organisms associated with these wood falls, followed by arthropods. The crustaceans found on these wood falls include isopods, amphipods, and decapods. The decapod order consists of crabs, lobsters, and some shrimp. One prominent decapod found in the wood-falls is the squat lobster, Munidopsis andamanica.

Munidopsis andamanica

Squat lobsters are actually more closely related to hermit crabs than the large, delicious, true lobsters that most people are familiar with. They lead diverse lifestyles in a wide variety of marine habitats. Typically, squat lobsters are generalist scavengers. However, M. andamanica has apparently evolved specializations for feeding on wood. These adaptations include claws and mouthparts ideal for tearing off and processing strips of wood tissue. In addition, the guts of these animals contain bacterial colonies that may assist in digesting plant tissue.

Partially digested plant xylem and symbiotic bacteria from the gut of M. andamanica.

These squat lobsters play an important role in wood fall ecosystems. Their ability to digest plant xylem tissue, producing nutrient-rich waste, injects useful energy into the environment. Furthermore, the discovery of wood fall ecological communities supports the stepping stone hypothesis of deep-sea colonization. It is thought that animals found in all habitats of the deep sea evolved in shallower waters and invaded the deep gradually by hopping from one sunken nutrient mass to another: Eventually reaching the deepest extremes of the oceans.

References:
Hoyoux, C. et al., 2009. Wood-based diet and gut microflora of a galatheid crab associated with Pacific deep-sea wood falls. Marine Biology, 156(12), 2421-2439.

About these ads

7 Responses to “Wood-eating squat lobsters of the deep”


  1. 1 breast actives reviews scam June 21, 2013 at 6:10 am

    Hi i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere,
    when i read this paragraph i thought i could also make comment due to this sensible paragraph.

  2. 2 capsules containing green coffee June 25, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Wow, awesome blog format! How lengthy have you been running a blog for?
    you made blogging glance easy. The entire look of your web site is fantastic, as well as the content material!

  3. 3 is breast actives a scam June 26, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    It’s amazing to pay a quick visit this web page and reading the views of all mates regarding this post, while I am also eager of getting know-how.

  4. 4 breast actives reviews results June 29, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Excellent beat ! I wish to apprentice at the
    same time as you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a weblog website?

    The account helped me a applicable deal.

    I had been a little bit familiar of this your broadcast offered brilliant clear
    idea

  5. 5 how fast does breast actives work July 6, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Simply wish to say your article is as astounding.
    The clarity in your post is simply great and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.
    Fine with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a million and please continue the rewarding work.

  6. 6 Beginner Woodworking Projects July 24, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    This excellent website definitely has all the info
    I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


  1. 1 Arthropod Roundup: Amphipods under the ice, high octane isopods, and the pea aphid genome « Arthropoda Trackback on March 17, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




I have moved.
Arthropoda can now be found here.

Michael Bok is a graduate student studying the visual system of mantis shrimp.

Flickr Photos

Fire in the Eye

View from atop South Island

Turtle and remora

Lizard Island lagoon panorama

Coral

Wind surfer over the reef, taken from atop South Island

Another Lizard Island Sunset

Odontodactylus latirostris

Mandarin

Lowest tide I have seen at Lizard Island  (-0.11 m)

More Photos

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: