Tintinnida (Protozoa: Ciliata) - A vital link in the estuarine food web

W.D. Naidu

Abstract



Tintinnids form one of the first links in the food chain. The ingestion of food particles by tintinnids is controlled by the diameter of the oral region. Tintinnids mainly feed on nannoplankton, naked flagellates, bacteria, detritus, coccolithophores, peridinians and diatoms and in turn they offer themselves to be preyed upon by larger zooplankters like salps, doliolids, oikopleura, cladocerans, copepods, Sagitta and mollusc veligers. Predators exhibited a preference for tintinnids with lorica open at both ends. Many fish and fish larvae analysed were also found to feed upon tintinnids

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