Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

Association between the ghost shrimp Trypaea australiensis Dana 1852 (Crustacea : Decapoda) and a small deposit-feeding bivalve Mysella vitrea Laserson 1956 (Mollusca : Leptonidae)

Geoff Kerr and Jamie Corfield

Marine and Freshwater Research 49(8) 801 - 806
Published: 1998


The deep-burrowing species Trypaea australiensis and Mysella vitrea inhabit intertidal sediments of the Richmond River, northern New South Wales. Laboratory experiments indicated that a facultative commensal association may exist between the two organisms, because although the bivalves survived independently, their vertical distribution in sediment was significantly different in the presence of T. australiensis. Field observations indicated that redox potential and bivalve abundance in sediment are weakly correlated. However, the absence of strongly reducing conditions in the first metre of the sediment, due to T. australiensis burrow irrigation, may increase potential niche size for M. vitrea. Tank observations revealed no aggregation of M vitrea around the burrows. Feeding observations suggested that M. vitrea can feed either by collecting particles off the sediment surface or by interstitial pedal feeding; the latter feeding mode would allow use of shrimp burrows for feeding. T. australiensis alters organic carbon distribution in the sediment profile, concentrations being significantly higher in the lowermost regions where T. australiensis was present than in controls. Thus, enrichment resulting from the activities of T. australiensis may provide some reward for the energetic cost to M. vitrea of burrowing deeply.

Keywords: commensals, redox, burrows, enrichment

© CSIRO 1998

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