Feeding ecology and diet

One of the key adaptations of tadpole shrimps is their capability to eat almost anything available in their restricted habitat. This adaptation is important in order to maintain the rapid development needed to colonize temporary ponds, requiring about 40% of their body mass in food per day. Notostracans are facultative detritus feeders, scavengers, or even predators; they eat anything from bacteria, algae, protozoa, lower metazoans, insect larvae, tender plant roots and shoots, and even prey on smaller tadpole shrimps, fairy shrimps, and amphibian tadpoles. Tadpole shrimps use their numerous appendages to channel food down a ventral groove between the mandibles.

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