Marine Biology

, Volume 152, Issue 4, pp 959–968 | Cite as

Food composition of crinoids (Crinoidea: Echinodermata) in relation to stalk length and fan density: their paleoecological implications

  • Kota KitazawaEmail author
  • Tatsuo Oji
  • Michinari Sunamura
Research Article


Crinoids have been diverse organisms in marine epifaunal filter feeding communities at any level of tiering above the substrate since they appeared in the Ordovician. Feeding is regarded as the most important factor in producing the crinoid tiering, which is primarily defined by stalk length. The gut contents of five sympatric crinoid species (three isocrines and two comatulids) were observed, and these were compared with the stalk length and the fan density. We have classified these crinoid species into four groups based on the stalk length and fan density, e.g., long stalk with low fan density, long stalk with high fan density, short stalk with low fan density, and short stalk with high fan density. In the gut contents, diatom crusts were found mainly from species with longer stalks, and chlorophyll-like fluorescent material were only detected from the groups with a shorter or no stalk. The group with lower fan density contained more inorganic particles than the group with higher fan density. Therefore, the gut contents and their amounts depend on their stalk lengths and their fan densities. The results imply that diversified morphologies in the crinoids have evolved through adaptations to different ecological factors such as difference in their diets.


Inorganic Particle Suspension Feeder Lower Tier High Tier Stalk Length 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank three anonymous reviewers for many critical comments on the manuscript and improvement of the English text. Samples of crinoids and sea bottom sediments were collected by the KT-04-06 cruise by the R/V Tansei-maru (JAMSTEC). We also thank Aaron W. Hunter and David Casenove (University of Tokyo) for the improvement of our English text.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth and Planetary ScienceUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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