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Note on the Trophic Relationships of the Stauromedusa Haliclystus Antarcticus from Subantarctic South Georgia

  • John Davenport (a1)

Stauromedusae are cnidarians that have attracted relatively little ecological study, especially in the southern hemisphere. They are Scyphozoa that develop directly from the scyphistoma, and each consists of a calyx and a more or less distinct aboral peduncle that attaches to the substratum by an adhesive disc. The animals are mobile on the substratum, but have no pelagic phase. The present note originates from observations made on stauromedusae living in intertidal and shallow subtidal waters at Husvik Harbour, South Georgia (54°11′S 38°40′W) in early 1994. The species concerned was identified from Kramp (1961), Carlgren (1930) and Pfeffer (1889) as Haliclystus antarcticus Pfeffer, 1889. This species has attracted little previous study. The most detailed anatomical description was given by Carlgen (1930), while distributional details are given in O'Sullivan (1982) who followed Pfeffer (1889); at present there is no evidence that the species occurs other than at South Georgia.

Medusae were found on two substrata. Large animals (~30mm high, inconspicuous dark brown in colour) were found on the underside of boulders at extreme low spring tide level in a bay on the north of Husvik Harbour about 1·2 km from the whaling station and close to Brain Island. Locally they were common, often being close enough to touch one another. Smaller animals (pink-orange in colour; cryptic on the macroalga) were found attached to the brown macroalga Desmarestia menziesii J. Aghardh (Phaeophyceae) collected at low-water spring tide level from Kanin Point on the southern shore of the harbour. Medusae on boulders were briefly emersed on particularly low tides: they collapsed, hanging from the peduncle, when out of water, but did not risk desiccation as their habitat was wet and not exposed to the sun.

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Carlgren, O., 1930. Die Lucernariden. Further Zoological Research of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition, 1901–1903, 2, 118.
Davenport, J., 1995. Upwelling-generated plankton strandlines: important predictable food sources for sea birds at Husvik, South Georgia. Marine Biology, 123, 207217.
Davenport, J., Pugh, P.J.A. & McKechnie, J., 1996. Mixed fractals and anisotropy in subantarctic marine macroalgae from South Georgia: implications for epifaunal biomass and abundance. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 136, 245255.
Kramp, P.L., 1961. Synopsis of the medusae of the world. journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 40, 7469.
Moore, P.G., 1994. Observations on the behaviour of the scavenging lysianassoid Orchomene zschaui (Crustacea: Amphipoda) from South Georgia (South Atlantic). Marine Ecology Progress Series, 113, 2938.
O'sullivan, D., 1982. A guide to the scyphomedusae of the southern ocean and adjacent waters. ANARE Research Notes, 4, 143.
Pfeffer, G., 1889. Zur Fauna von Siid-Georgien. Mitteilungen aus dem Naturhistorischen Museum in Hamburg, 6.
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Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
  • ISSN: 0025-3154
  • EISSN: 1469-7769
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-marine-biological-association-of-the-united-kingdom
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