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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
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Slideshow: Deep-sea Spiders Have a Snack
24 December 2009 (All day)
Three thousand meters below the ocean's surface, a remotely operated vehicle has captured never-before seen images of deep-sea spiders feeding in their natural habitat. These sluggish, long-legged spiders, which occupy a distinct class of arthropods from land spiders, survive on sea anemones in a submarine canyon off the Central California coast.
Researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute tracked two species of sea anemones and two species of sea spiders from the genus Colossendeis during 12 visits over a 4-year period. The submarine robot observed the spiders' proboscis piercing wilted pom-pom anemones among the clam fields, wood debris, and whale carcass remains in the submarine canyon. The spiders adopted many feeding strategies, from sucking with their proboscis on sedentary anemones or detached tentacles, to devouring anemones as they rolled together in the currents. The team, led by evolutionary biologist Robert Vrijenhoek, reports the findings in the fall issue of the Journal of Invertebrate Biology.
Vrijenhoek and colleagues have previously observed boneworms nibbling on whale bones that had fallen to the sea floor. The rare sightings of boneworms and sea spider feasts support the idea, the authors say, that the sea floor is more of an oasis than the nutritional desert some had believed.
Anemone tentacles make a tasty snack (Flash slideshow). A deep-sea pycnogonid, or sea spider, holds two detached tentacles of a sea anemone in its mouth amid the mollusk shells and whale bones that have settled on the sea floor. Image courtesy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. © 2009 MBARI