Pycnogonids in the genus Colossendeis are found in the deep sea and Southern Ocean. Although the genus contains the largest and most conspicuous species of sea spiders, little is known about their ecology or behavior. We documented two species feeding on a variety of benthic and pelagic invertebrates during three diving field seasons at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Individuals of one species, Colossendeis megalonyx, fed on a variety of pelagic organisms, particularly the pteropod Clione antarctica. We used video to document rapid capture of individuals of C. antarctica by captive specimens of C. megalonyx in the laboratory, and we suggest that, at least in the nearshore environment, pelagic invertebrates are an important food source for this and potentially other pycnogonid species.
- Antarctic benthos
- Colossendeis megalonyx