The seasonal distribution, diel vertical distribution and feeding behavior of Paraeuchaeta concinna in the shallow subtropical coastal waters of eastern Hong Kong
School of Life Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR, China
Aquatic Biosystems 2012, 8:28 doi:10.1186/2046-9063-8-28Published: 5 November 2012
Predatory copepods of the family Euchaetidae are widely distributed in polar, temperate, subtropical and tropical oceans. Paraeuchaeta concinna is the most abundant Euchaetidae in the subtropical coastal seas of Hong Kong and southern China. However, compared to Euchaetidae species in temperate and polar regions, relatively little information is available on the ecology of P. concinna and other Euchaetidae species in the subtropical oceans. This paper provides information on the seasonal abundance of P. concinna in the coastal seas of eastern Hong Kong. The diel vertical distribution of P. concinna, feeding behavior, and predation impact on mesozooplankton in eastern Hong Kong were also investigated.
P. concinna is most abundant in winter and spring. Their abundance decreases shoreward, and densities are generally higher in the open waters of eastern Hong Kong than in the inner parts of Mirs Bay and Tolo Harbour. P. concinna exhibits both diel vertical migration and diel feeding rhythms in Mirs Bay. P. concinna females show strong preference for the copepods of the genera Acrocalanus, Paracalanus, and Parvocalanus, and remove ~4% of their standing stocks daily.
The low abundance of P. concinna during most of the year suggests it is not indigenous to coastal seas of eastern Hong Kong. P. concinna performs diel vertical migration, most likely as a strategy to avoid visual predation. Gut content analysis showed that Acrocalanus, Paracalanus, and Parvocalanus are highly preferred prey of P. concinna. A daily predation impact of ~4% of the standing stocks of Acrocalanus, Paracalanus, and Parvocalanus suggests that P. concinna may play an important role in regulating the populations of these small copepods in Mirs Bay, especially during winter and spring.