Nematocyst ratio and prey in two Australian cubomedusans, Chironex fleckeri and Chiropsalmus sp

Carrette, T., Alderslade, P., and Seymour, J. (2002) Nematocyst ratio and prey in two Australian cubomedusans, Chironex fleckeri and Chiropsalmus sp. Toxicon, 40 (11). pp. 1547-1551.

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Abstract

This study examined differences in the nematocyst ratios between two species of Australian cubozoans. In Chiropsalmus sp., a species that feeds exclusively on shrimp, no changes in the ratio of the three groups of nematocyst present in the cnidome were detected with size of the individual animals. In Chironex fleckeri, the ratio of different types of nematocysts in the cnidome for small animals (less than 40 mm) was similar to that of Chiropsalmus sp. However, with an increase in body size in C. fleckeri, the nematocyst ratio changed, with mastigophores (nematocysts believed to hold the lethal venom component for prey) increasing in proportion. The change in cnidome ratio is correlated with a change in the prey of C. fleckeri with increased size. Small C. fleckeri appeared to feed exclusively on prawns, medium sized animals fed on fish and prawns and large animals fed predominantly on fish. An increase in the proportion of mastigophores (and presumably the lethal venom component) in the cnidome of C. fleckeri may also be responsible for why this species has caused numerous human fatalities, while the Australian Chiropsalmus sp. has not.

Item ID: 13688
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Chironex fleckeri; Chiropsalmus sp.; cnidome; nematocyst
ISSN: 1879-3150
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2010 22:11
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060807 Animal Structure and Function @ 51%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 49%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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