Alternate Title

Feeding Biology, Distribution, and Ecology of Two Species of Benthic Polychaetes: Paraonis fulgens and Paraonis pygoenigmatica (Polychaeta: Paraonidae)

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Paraonis fulgens and Paraonis pygoenigmatica inhabit sandy littoral and sublittoral sediments of the northem Gulf of Mexico and U.S. East Coast, but seldom overlap in distribution. The purpose of this study was to compare the feeding ecology and distribution of these species. We analyzed distributions and gut contents of Gulf of Mexico specimens and found that P. fulgens inhabited substrates with slightly more silt and clay than those inhabited by P. pygoenigmatica. Although Paraonis fulgens ingested more diatoms than P. pygoenigmatica, this distinction likely resulted from habitat differences, not selective feeding. Previous studies suggested that P. fulgens fed selectively on diatoms only.

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