Feeding Ecology And Diet

Within the detritus mat habitat of these animals, vertebrate and invertebrate carcasses are frequently seen and exploited by Nebalia hessleri. In the laboratory, this leptostracan feeds on large pieces of meat (e.g., fish, shrimp, fish-containing cat food, and squid) by scraping off chunks, using the peduncle of the first antenna, which bears a row of strong spines. The animals often remained in contact with the meat for five minutes or more, and produced a continuous fecal strand that sometimes rivaled the length of the animal. In such cases, the fecal strand was the same color as the food and thus possibly was poorly processed.

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