University Of Tasmania
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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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posted on 2023-11-02, 04:53 authored by DA Ritz, SJ Lockhart
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.


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Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania







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