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Rocky Shore Trail
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Feeding Methods of Seashore Invertebrates

With the great diversity of species representing the range of invertebrate groups on the shore there is a wide diversity of potential ways that food can be obtained. Here is a small selection.


Table of Feeding Methods
Filter Feeder: mussels (right), sea-squirts, sponges Filter Feeder: mussel By drawing seawater into body, extracting food particles (plankton and detritus) and then ejecting water
Filter Feeder: barnacles (right), tubeworms, sea-mats Filter Feeder: barnacle Filter-feed by using some form of feeding apparatus to catch food particles (plankton and detritus) in the water. The barnacle here has hairy legs.
Grazing Herbivores: limpets, topshells (right), periwinkles Grazing Herbivores: Topshells These use a radula (a long ribbon-like toothed tongue) to scrape up algae, lichens and detritus
Detritivores: prawns (right), shrimps, sandhoppers Detritivores: prawn Eat the remains of dead animals and plants and large plankton.
Carnivores: anemones Carnivores: anemones Use stinging tentacles (rows of nematocysts or sting cells on tentacles) to catch and paralyse prey. Eat most small animals they can catch, such as blennies, prawns, crabs and sandhoppers
Carnivorous molluscs: dogwhelks Carnivorous molluscs: dogwhelks These bore holes in the shells of other animals, secrete digestive enzymes and suck out the digested juice. Eat mainly barnacles, limpets and mussels but will also eat tubeworms, topshells, winkles and even other dogwhelks.
Carnivorous molluscs: sea -slugs Carnivorous molluscs: sea -slugs Carnivores which will eat animals many other animals find distateful, such as sea-mat, anemones and sea squirts . Grey Sea-slug, left, eats anemones and transports the sting cells into its cerata to use for defence
Carnivorous fish: blennies Carnivorous fish: blennies These have strong jaws and "teeth" to catch and crush prey. They eat most things including barnacles, crabs, prawns, molluscs and sandhoppers. It will even eat seaweed.
Carnivores: crabs Carnivores: crabs These important predators eat almost things especially topshells, winkles, limpets, dogwhelks, sandhoppers, prawns, blennies, barnacles and other crabs. They will scavenge on dead matter.
Seabird predators: gulls, oystercatcher (right), turnstones Seabird predators: Oystercatcher These are the top-carnivores and eat most tasty animals on the shore, avoiding sponges, anemones, sea slugs and the smaller colonies like sea-mat



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