Large, mobile invertebrate consumers are ecologically the most intensively studied guild on rocky shores and include species from Turbellaria (flatworms), Crustacea (e.g., crabs, shrimp, amphipods, and isopods), Annelida (e.g., polychaetes), Gastropoda (e.g., snails, nudibranchs, and chitons), and Echinodermata (sea urchins, brittle stars, and sea stars). Herbivores range from grazers of diatom films to browsers of macroalgae, and predators exploit a variety of methods (crushing, stinging, drilling, and partial consumption) to overcome the defenses of their prey.
Small mobile metazoans (roughly 0.1-1 mm and collectively termed meiofauna) thrive on and among the algae, animals, and the trapped sediments on rocky shores. Meiofauna include consumers from many invertebrate phyla, that - due to their small sizes, extremely high abundances, and high turnover rates - are an important guild of consumers whose effects have largely been neglected in comparison to studies of larger invertebrates.
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