ABSTRACT: Laboratory experiments revealed that the rocky shore gastropod, Nucella lamellosa (Gmelin), could discriminate between the effluents of predatory and non-predatory crabs. N. lamellosa turned away from seawater that had passed over the large predatory crab, Cancer productus Randall. This avoidance behavior was observed in snails from two localities that, based on differences in shell form, presumably experienced different levels of predation intensity. The scent of the non-predatory crabs Pugettia producta (Randall) and Lopholithodes mandtii Brandt had no effect on the turning behavior of snails from either site. Surprisingly, snails from both sites were attracted to the scent of a small shore crab, Hemigrapsus nudus (Dana), but moved at random in response to a common prey item Balanus glandula Darwin. These results suggest that N. lamellosa can assess from a distance the relative risks posed by different species of crabs, and respond appropriately. The unexpected attraction to H. nudus suggests that N. lamellosa may use this effluent to home in from a distance on potential refugia, since H. nudus are often associated with crevices and the undersides of boulders where N. lamellosa would be less vulnerable to larger predators.
A.R. Palmer Publications List, Asymmetry Page, Home Page
Original material on this page copyright © A. Richard Palmer. All rights reserved.
(revised Nov. 4, 2002)