Worms as food?!

Mason Dean mndean at brill.acomp.usf.edu
Tue Jun 12 18:32:53 EST 2001


Hello, polychaete huggers!

	I'm a graduate student in the Department of Biology at the University 
of South Florida in Tampa.  I work in a lab that studies the functional 
morphology and feeding kinematics of elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and 
rays).  My current research is on the feeding kinematics of the Lesser 
Electric Ray Narcine brasililensis, which is found from North Carolina all 
the way to South America.  

	In order to undertake a feeding study, we need a LIVE prey item of a 
consistent size class (roughly 2-3" TL) that can be collected on a regular 
basis.  Digging for worms around here has proved fruitless and NO ONE 
uses polychaetes for bait, so they aren't sold in this area.  

	As a result, we've resorted to shipping in Glycera from the northeast.  
I have had some people say that Nereis virens might be easier to keep in 
the lab - is this a bristle worm?  I tried feeding a Nereis (perhaps a different 
species?  We got them  from Carolina Biol. Supply) to the rays on one 
occasion and they spit them out.  If they aren't stinging, then maybe I will 
try again.  

	Can any of you suggest (1) a different worm species that fits the 
above criteria (and is EASY to get!) and/or (2) a reputable, cheap-as-
possible place that will ship live worms?  Any suggestions you have at this 
point would be appreciated.  

    Thanks for your time,
    Mason Dean
    REPLY TO: mndean at brill.acomp.usf.edu


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