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Preliminary observations of the feeding periodicity and selectivity of the introduced seastar, Asterias amurensis (Ltitken), in Tasmania, Australia

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Lockhart, SJ and Ritz, DA 2001 , 'Preliminary observations of the feeding periodicity and selectivity of the introduced seastar, Asterias amurensis (Ltitken), in Tasmania, Australia' , Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, vol. 135 , pp. 25-33 , doi: 10.26749/rstpp.135.25.

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Abstract

Field observations of the introduced north Pacific seastar, Asterias amurensis, in Tasmania showed that it feeds over the 24-h period with no obvious cycle of activity. Percentage of seastars feeding at anytime ranged from 17.2% at 1600 h to 58.2% at 2000 h. Feeding periodicity did not correlate with the time of day or the height of the tide. A significantly higher proportion of juveniles than adult seastars were found to be feeding at any given time. A comparison of prey items found in the stomachs with the availability of prey items in sediments revealed that, in the field, A. amurensis selected some prey species and avoided others. A total of 15 species were consumed, with molluscan prey
the most important (> 60%) in winter and spring and at the two depths studied (2 m and 5 m). It is concluded that A. amurensis is an opportunistic generalist predator but shows a certain degree of specialisation in local populations. All bivalves at the field site were found to be juveniles (most < 5 mm shell length) . Whether this is a natural phenomenon or due to the presence of A. amurensis cannot be ascertained, as there are no data from these sites prior to the introduction of this seastar. Due to the dominance of juveniles, the resilience
of the bivalve community is likely to be low.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Lockhart, SJ and Ritz, DA
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, RST, Van Diemens Land, natural history, science, ecology, taxonomy, botany, zoology, geology, geography, papers & proceedings, Australia, UTAS Library
Journal or Publication Title: Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
ISSN: 0080-4703
DOI / ID Number: 10.26749/rstpp.135.25
Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
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Copyright Royal Society of Tasmania

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