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    Author(s): Lori K. Benson; Stanley A. Rice; Bruce R. Johnson
    Date: 1999
    Source: Florida scientist. Vol. 62, no. 2 (spring 1999): pages 128-144.
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: Download Publication  (509 KB)


    Sphaeroma terebrans Bate is a widespread estuarine, wood-boring, isopod found in red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) forests of tropical and subtropical estuarine waters. Because it causes extensive damage to man-made structures in marine coastal zones and is resistant to common methods of wood preservation it is important to understand fully how S. terebrans uses the wood into which it bores. Previous studies indicate that S. terebrans is primarily a filler-feeder and does not utilize bored wood as a nutritive substrate. However, laboratory feeding data obtained in this study indicate that juvenile S. terebrans specimens can survive on a diet of pure cellulose signifcantly longer than individuals given no food. In addition, enzyme assays show that digestive caeca homogenates from S. terebrans have active cellulose-digesting enzymes. Furthermore, SEM rind TEM studies of this organism indicate that cellulose-like material is present in the hindgut of these organisms. These data taken collectively indicate that S. terebrans has the ability to use the wood as food source.

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    Benson, Lori K.; Rice, Stanley A.; Johnson, Bruce R. 1999. Evidence of cellulose digestion in the wood boring isopod Sphaeroma terebrans. Florida scientist. Vol. 62, no. 2 (spring 1999): pages 128-144.


    Sphaeroma, Isopoda, wood borers, arthropod pests, cellulose digestion, Rhizophora, marine borers, enzymes, marine structures, wood preservation, Sphaeroma terebrans

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