Fine-scale distribution of juvenile cephalopods in the Scotia Sea and adaptive allometry of the brachial crown
The pelagic nekton community was sampled with the RMT 25 opening/closing net and a neuston net at two stations in the Scotia Sea south of the Antarctic Polar Front in the open ocean (Station 1) and on the South Georgia northwestern slope (Station 2). Downward oblique tows were made with the RMT 25 through discrete 200 m layers to 1000 m in daylight and darkness. A total of 119 cephalopods representing nine species were removed from the samples, and mantle and arm lengths were measured to the nearest 0.1 mm. The most abundant species at each station was an undescribed Brachioteuthis sp. (B. ?picta). Galiteuthis glacialis and Alluroteuthis antarcticus were caught at both stations. Histioteuthis eltaninae, Bathyteuthis abyssicola and Psychroteuthis glacialis were caught at Station 1. Mastigoteuthis psychrophila and a Chiroteuthis sp. were caught at Station 2. B. ?picta was present throughout the water column to 1000 m at both stations, with little evidence of ontogenetic descent. There was evidence for ontogenetic descent in G. glacialis. This species was absent from the Antarctic Surface Water (ASW) at Station 1, where it was concentrated in the Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW). At Station 2 it was present throughout the water column to 1000 m. The other species were all caught in the core of the CDW (>400 m). In juvenile B. ?picta, G. glacialis and A. antarcticus, growth of the brachial crown is positively allometric with respect to mantle length. Recent data on biomass spectra in high-latitude pelagic systems show that they are characterised by the presence of peaks of biomass separated by biomass minima. Positive allometric growth in the brachial crown of these antarctic oceanic squid is suggested to have evolved as an adaptation to the peaked, or domed, structure of the pelagic biomass spectrum which must be spanned by these predators as their optimum prey size increases with growth. Interspecific differences in the allometry of tentacle growth are probably related to differences in strategies for stalking and capture of prey.