Scientia Marina, Vol 81, No 4 (2017)

An experimental approach to the ecophysiology of the interstitial polychaete Polygordius eschaturus (Annelida: Polygordiidae)

Lilia Pereira de Souza-Santos
Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro - Laboratório de Cultivo e Ecotoxicologia, Departamento de Oceanografia, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil


Specimens of Polygordius eschaturus from a reflective sandy beach were tested in the laboratory for tolerance to salinity and temperature and for their response to light, gravity and oxygen tension. After 192 h at 10°C, almost all specimens died at salinities of 10, 20 and 50 psu and were slow moving from 30 to 40. At 20°C and 30°C, all specimens died when salinity was 10; few showed abnormal behaviour at 50 and all presented normal behaviour from 20 to 40. At 40°C, all specimens died within 24 h. In our experimental conditions, the observed migration patterns corresponded to photonegative geopositive behaviours, but also indicated a positive response to a higher oxygen tension. These patterns, together with euryhalinity and eurythermy, are in accordance with the typical habitat of the species, from 10 to 20 cm depth in coarse sand above the swash zone. In the intertidal zone of the tropical beach where the worms were originally found, the combined behaviour leading to an attraction to well-oxygenated, dark subsurface sediment layers results in successful protection from the strong changes in salinity and temperature of the more superficial layers.


meiofauna; sandy beach; Vermelha Beach; tropical

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