Induction of Suspension Feeding in Spionid Polychaetes by High Particulate Fluxes

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Science  31 Oct 1980:
Vol. 210, Issue 4469, pp. 562-564
DOI: 10.1126/science.210.4469.562


The feeding behavior of three species of spionid polychaetes varied with water velocity. At moderate flows the worms ceased deposit feeding, formed their feeding tentacles into helices, and lifted them into the water column to capture material in suspension. This behavior was apparently a response to increased flux of suspended matter at high flows rather than to flow velocity alone. Organisms capable of switching their feeding behavior may be common in dynamically variable benthic environments.