Advertisement

Marine Biology

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 165–173 | Cite as

Migration of the sandworm Nereis virens during winter nights

Article

Abstract

There have been many previous reports of the sandworm Nereis virens Sars swimming in the water column. This behavior usually has been attributed to reproductive processes. Sandworms were found swimming in surface waters at night on ebb tides during many nights of January, February and March in a Maine (USA) estuary. None of the specimens examined contained gametes or possessed other characteristic spawning or pre-spawning modifications. Several age classes were found, with worms measuring 9 to 38 cm in length, weighing 0.5 to 19.8 g, and having 82 to 187 segments. The greatest numbers of worms were observed during near-average tides on evenings in which low tides occurred a few hours after sunset but prior to moonrise. Up to 83 worms per minute were observed swimming seaward through a 20 m transect, while none were observed swimming landward at any stage of the tide. It is concluded that sandworms swimming during winter nights is unrelated to reproduction and that it is an inherent behavior pattern.

Keywords

Migration Surface Water Water Column Behavior Pattern Reproductive Process 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Alexander, L.C.: Feeding chronology and food habits of the tomcod (Microgadus tomcod (Walbaum)) and winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus (Walbaum)) in Montsweag Bay (Sheepscot River) Maine, 36 pp. M.S. Thesis, University of Maine, Orono 1971Google Scholar
  2. Anonymous: Fishery statistics of the United States 1972. NOAA natn. mar. Fish. Serv. statist. Dig. 66, 1–517 (1975)Google Scholar
  3. —: Maine Landings, Annual Summary 1975. NOAA natn. mar. Fish. Serv. Curr. Fish. Statist. 6909, 1–6 (1976)Google Scholar
  4. Bass, N.R. and A.E. Brafield: The life-cycle of the polychaete Nereis virens. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 52, 701–726 (1972)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brafield, A.E. and G. Chapman: Gametogenesis and breeding in a natural population of Nereis virens. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 47, 619–627 (1967)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clark, R.B.: The origin and formation of the heteronereis. Biol. Rev. 36, 199–236 (1961)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. — and D.J. Tritton: Swimming mechanisms in nereidiform polychaetes. J. Zool., Lond. 161, 257–271 (1970)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gray, J.: Studies in animal locomotion. VIII. The kinetics of locomotion of Nereis diversicolor. J. exp. Biol. 16, 9–18 (1939)Google Scholar
  9. Gustafson, A.H.: Some observations on the dispersion of the marine worms Nereis and Glycera. Fish. Circ. Me 12, 1–8 (1953)Google Scholar
  10. Pearcy, W.G.: Ecology of an estuarine population of winter flounder, Pseudopleuronectes americanus (Walbaum). Parts I–IV. Bull. Bingham oceanogr. Coll. 18 5–78 (1962)Google Scholar
  11. Pettibone, M.H.: Marine polychaete worms of the New England region. 1. Aphroditidae through Trochochaetidae. Bull. U.S. natn. Mus. 227, 1–356 (1963)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Rasmussen, E.: Systematics and ecology of the Isefjord marine fauna (Denmark). Ophelia 11, 1–507 (1973)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Recksiek, C.W. and J.D. McCleave: Distribution of pelagic fishes in the Sheepscot River-Back River estuary, Wiscasset, Maine. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 102, 541–551 (1973)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Snow, D.R. and J.R. Marsden: Life cycle, weight and possible age distribution in a population of Nereis virens (Sars) from New brunswick. J. nat. Hist. 8, 513–527 (1974)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Verrill, A.E.: Report upon the invertebrate animals of Vineyard Sound and adjacent waters, with an account of the physical features of the region. Rep. U.S. Fish Commnr Fish. 1871–1872, 295–852 (1873)Google Scholar
  16. Verwey, J.: Orientation in migrating marine animals and a comparison with that of other migrants. Archs néerl. Zool. 13, 418–445 (1958)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Dean
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Oceanography, Ira C. Darling Center for Research, Teaching and ServiceUniversity of Maine at OronoWalpoleUSA

Personalised recommendations