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Salton Sea Symposium 2000

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Invertebrates of the Salton Sea Poster

Planktonic Invertebrate Organisms
of the Salton Sea

[Click on genus and species name to reach larger images] 


Balanus amphitrite saltonensis (larvae)

(Balanidae, Cirripedia)

This barnacle has a worldwide distribution in warm temperate and tropical waters. The Salton Sea is the only inland saline lake in the world from which a barnacle has been reported. Assemblages of live adults and extensive deposits of barnacle shell form major structural habitats for other invertebrate species in the Sea. Beginning as a nauplius (a,b), it develops into the cyprid form (c) which than settles on a hard substrate as an adult barnacle.
a. nauplius

b. nauplius


c. cypris form

Fig. 1. Larvae of barnacle, Balanus amphitrite saltonensis. Found in greatest abundance in near shore waters in January through April. Adult forms live attached to hard substrates. Extensive deposits of barnacle shell form major structural habitats for other invertebrates in the Sea.



Neanthes succinea (larvae)

(Nereidae, Polychaeta)

Early stages in the development of this pile worm, from eggs to the nine-segmented larvae, are planktonic. They are most abundant in the Salton Sea in spring and fall (see Graph. I).

Light microscopy: a - trochophore (to be added), b - nectochaete, c - setiger juvenile

 b - nectochaete 
c - setiger juvenile

Fig 2. Larvae of pile worm, Neanthes succinea. Most abundance in March, scarce in summer, increase starting in November. Prey for fish and birds feeding in water column.


 Brachionus rotundiformis

(Brachionidae, Rotifera)

In earlier publications this rotifer was referred as Brachionus plicatus, but it is now considered to be a distinct form. It is strictly planktonic organism that reproduces by parthenogenesis. This allows it to increase in abundance very rapidly (see graph. I). It is the most numerous organism in the summer zooplankton.



Fig. 3. Rotifer, Brachionus rotundiformis. Most numerous organism in the summer zooplankton. Play an important role in nutrient cycling. Prey for copepods and fish.  


Apocyclops dengizicus

(Cyclopidae, Copepoda)

This is the only cyclopoid copepod reported from the Salton Sea (Dexter, 1993). It is present in the Salton Sea year round, but most abundant in the summer ( see graph I). A. dengizicus has a generation time as brief as 2 weeks. Other places that it is found is inland saline lakes in Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Carribean.  
Nauplius, ventral view
Adult, ventrolateral view

Fig. 4. Cyclopoid copepod, Apocyclops dengizicus. Dominates summer zooplankton. Food for small fish. Feeds on algae, protozoans and rotifers.

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