on the shores
learn only 3 things about them ...
marine creatures feed on tiny things found in the water.
Others process sand and sediments for tiny bits of nutrients.
way an animal feeds can be deduced from its body structure.
Animals on our shores eat things which might appear strange to us.
And have equally strange, but ingenious, ways to get their food.
detritus: Detritus is a polite word for dung and decaying
matter. Detritus is made up mostly of dead plants and tiny animals
that have broken down into bits. Detritus is a rich source of nutrients
much like fertiliser in a garden. Living animals contribute detritus
when they deposit dung or drop off parts of their body such as feathers
Yummy Plankton: Tiny plankton
is another popular food item. Plankton refers to all animals that
drift in the ocean. While a few can be enormous (like jellyfishes),
most plankton are microscopic plants and animals that drift with the
water currents. This includes algae such as diatoms as well as the
tiny larvae of larger animals.
Microscopic larvae drift with the currents to disperse to new places
where they settle down and grow into large adults. Most however, never
make it to adulthood as they are eaten by plankton feeders.
larvae of some animals of our shores
Plankton also comprises animals that remain microscopic all their
lives, such as this copepod on the right.
to eat plankton? There are two main ways to eat detritus
and plankton: deposit feeding and suspension feeding.
feeders collect the particles that settle on the
sea bottom. Buried worms gather detritus from the surface with
cucumbers swallow and process sediments for detritus.
feeders collect the bits suspended in the water.
Peacock anemones use their tentacles to collect detritus suspended
in the water.
feeders are suspension feeders that collect bits
suspended in the water by actively creating a current of water
through their bodies or by using body parts as a sieve.
filter the water with their feathery feet, kicking the edible
bits into their mouths.
Sponges and clams filter feed by sucking water into their bodies
and then sieving out the edible particles.
diets: Many animals on our shores have diets that
are less strange to us.
Carnivores are flesh-eating
animals. There are two main types of flesh-eaters: predators
Predators actively hunt,
kill and eat animals. Predators don't have to be large. An example
of a small predator is the Drill, a snail that eats barnacles.
Scavengers don't hunt or
kill. They simply eat any animals that are already dead. Scavengers
include crabs and prawns.
Herbivores eat plants. On
our shores, the plants are not huge trees but are seagrasses,
seaweeds and smaller algae. Animals large and small munch on
these plants. These include slugs and fishes.
Omnivores eat both plants
and animals. They usually eat a wide variety of food. We are
of a sea
gather tiny edible bits
from the water with their feathery arms.
have feathery legs to gather
edible bits from the water.
Sponges generate a current
of water through the porous body to extract tiny edible bits.
The acorn worm
processes sand for edible
bits, producing coils of processed sand.
Cerianthids gather bits from
the water with their tentacles.