Multiple-choice feeding preference assay on two sea urchin species from the Gulf of Mannar, South East coast of India
A multiple-choice feeding experiment was conducted on the two sea urchins, viz., Salmacis virgulata and Temnopleurus toreumaticus, in four feeding assays with 12 varieties of seagrass and seaweed. The results of the study have revealed that the species Caulerpa peltata, C. racemosa, Kappaphycus alvarezii and Padina tetrastromatica occupied the top feeding positions in the descending order for S. virgulata. But for T. toreumaticus, the order of preference was observed to decrease sequentially for C. peltata, Cymodocea serrulata, C. racemosa and Syringodium isoetifolium. This study further revealed that there was a leaning preference towards seagrass species in T. toreumaticus which was conspicuously absent in S. virgulata. This kind of studies would pave way to better understand sea urchin ecology and its urchin barren phenomenon.
Gulf of Mannar, Seagrass, Sea urchins, Seaweeds
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