The diet of Haliclystus
auricula was studied from the gut contents of Stauromedusae collected every two months in southern Chile between November 2001 and November 2002. A total of 3790 medusae were collected and examined. Stauromedusae prey consisted primarily of harpacticoid copepods (68·4%), followed by gammarid amphipods (15·4%), chironomid fly larvae (9·2%) and podocopid ostracods (5·9%). The remaining 1·1% of the diet was made up of empidid fly larvae, polychaete worms, isopods, juvenile decapod crustaceans and gastropods. Gut content was observed in 31% of the stauromedusae collected and only in medusae with an umbrella height greater than 0·4 mm. Frequency of medusae with prey items in their gut content increased with stauromedusae size. The type of prey most frequently found in the smallest medusae were copepods, whilst larger individuals contained mainly amphipods. A strong tendency for the length of prey consumed to increase with medusae size was found.
(Received June 19 2003) (Accepted January 22 2004)