Fast food: efficient prey handling in suspension feeding copepods

Tuesday 14 Feb 23


Thomas Kiørboe
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 34 01


Uffe Høgsbro Thygesen
Associate Professor
DTU Compute
+45 45 25 30 60

Copepods are among the most common multicellular organisms on earth and feed on a wide variety of prey. When capturing food, they have to briefly handle it before they can ingest it. However, not much is known about how the handling time impact copepod feeding efficiency.

In a recent study, we compiled video observations of 10 species of copepods feeding on a wide range of prey. We show that the handling time of prey vary greatly, with larger prey taking longer to handle. However, when taking into account the volume of prey handled per unit of time, larger prey are actually handled more efficiently. We also find that larger copepods handle certain prey faster than smaller copepods and that handling times generally do not limit prey consumption. We suggest that this allows copepods to optimize their food intake through prey selectivity.

Read the paper:

F. Ryderheim, U. H. Thygesen, and T. Kiørboe. 2023. Short handling times allow for active prey selection in suspension feeding copepods. Limnology and Oceanography. doi:10.1002/lno.12317

Header: A Calanus sp. copepod handling prey. Snapshot from video by T. Kiørboe.
23 JULY 2024