Marine Biology

, Volume 153, Issue 6, pp 1199–1206 | Cite as

Burrowing behaviour inferred from feeding traces of the opheliid polychaete Euzonus sp. as response to beach morphodynamics

  • Koji SeikeEmail author
Research Article


The distribution of the opheliid polychate Euzonus sp. and the orientation of its feeding traces were examined in a wave-dominated Pacific sandy beach of central Japan by periodical sampling from June to December 2006. This species occurred constantly within sediments at mid-intertidal level, although its horizontal distributions were variable depending on changes of the beach profiles. These facts indicate that Euzonus sp. moved horizontally seaward or landward within the substratum in response to the shifting beach face due to changes of wave conditions from the ocean. By analysing the orientation of feeding traces, the adaptive burrowing behaviour of this species in response to beach topographical changes was revealed: Euzonus worms burrowed horizontally to various directions in a relatively stable condition of beach topography, whereas they moved preferentially landward under a heavy erosion of the beach face by a storm. These findings indicate that the burrowing behaviour prevents Euzonus sp. from excessive burial and washing out due to the beach morphodynamics.


Beach Sandy Beach Trace Fossil Resultant Vector Beach Profile 
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I am much indebted to the Hasaki Oceanographical Research Station (Port and Research Institute) for providing the beach profile data of the Hasaki Coast during fieldwork. I thank K. Tanabe (The University of Tokyo) for his supervision and critical reading of the manuscript, and T. Misaka (Hokkaido Government) for identification of Euzonus. I also thank R.G. Bromley (University of Copenhagen) for the improvement of the manuscript and his valuable comments, M. Nara (Ehime University) for his supervision during early stages of this work, M. Sato (Kagoshima University) for discussion on ecology of Euzonus, and R.G. Jenkins (The University of Tokyo) for help in the fieldwork. This work was supported by the scientific research funds of the 21st Century COE Program to the University of Tokyo (G3, Leader T. Yamagata).Thanks are also due to three anonymous reviewers, who improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth and Planetary ScienceThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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