Larval photoresponses of the polyclad flatworm Maritigrella crozieri (Platyhelminthes, Polycladida) (Hyman)
Phototaxis by larvae of the flatworm Maritigrella crozieri was used to determine spectral sensitivity, the ontogeny of the phototactic pattern, and the lowest light intensity to induce a directional response (intensity threshold). Adult M. crozieri live in shallow water with the tunicate Ecteinascidia turbinata and have a planktonic larval phase lasting longer than 3 weeks. The primary spectral sensitivity maximum was at 500 nm, which is probably an adaptation to the spectrum available underwater at twilight. The phototactic threshold changed with age, as dark-adapted, 1-week-old larvae had a threshold (1.84 × 1017 photons m-2 s-1) an order of magnitude higher than that of 3-week-old larvae. Flatworm larvae are relatively insensitive to light as compared to other invertebrate larvae. Young larvae were positively phototactic at high light intensities and negative at low, a pattern typical of a predator avoidance shadow response. In contrast, older larvae were only positively phototactic, which would be useful for transport to shallow-water adult habitats. © 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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