Gammarus palustris Bousfield (1969) individuals, of both sexes, contain levels of amylase activity sufficient to hydrolyze their dry weight in starch in less than an hour. We suggest that this is in excess of their needs for internal digestion. Experiments show that amylase is released by the amphipod into the environment, especially when they are maintained in the presence of food. Gammarus palustris amylase can be recovered from their natural habitat. The enzymes retain activity over the wide salinity range (5 to 30‰) encountered by this species in nature. It is hypothesized that released amylase plays a role external to the amphipod, perhaps in predigestion of food, perhaps as an aid in finding food.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science