‘Opportunistic feeding’, a serious pitfall in trophic structure analysis of (paleo)faunas



A classification of marine organisms as deposit-feeders, suspension-feeders, carnivores, or scavengers is difficult becausc many species appear to be capable of using more than one feeding method. Thcse species are most probably ‘opportunistic’, varying their diet with local food availability. Efforts to reconstruct trophic webs and establish deposit-feederisuspension-feeder ratios in (paleo)faunas are seriously hampered by the presence of opportunistic feeders.