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Abyssorchomene plebs (Hurley, 1965)

provided by British Antarctic Survey

Description

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Species details

Reaches up to 2.5cm in size

Photos

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Species distribution

0 to 800m, but most common in deeper waters (below 50m). Found from Sub-Antarctica to the Antarctic Peninsula and Continent.

Abyssorchomene plebs is an omnivorous scavenger and predator, and feeds in swarms on carrion, fecal matter and sometimes on live animals in a mass assault. It is preyed on by fish and the Antarctic tern (Sterna vittata) which probably eats it when carcasses containing amphipods get washed ashore. Abyssorchomene plebs reaches maturity after 18 months and reproduces and develops eggs in winter so that the young hatch out in spring. Experiments on this species have shown that the optimum temperature for its lifestyle is below freezing and it cannot tolerate temperatures much above 8 oC. This is probably the case for most Antarctic animals.

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