IMIS | Lifewatch regional portal

You are here


[ report an error in this record ]basket (0): add | show Print this page

Behavioural components of prey-selection by dogwhelks, Nucella lapillus (L.), feeding on barnacles, Semibalanus balanoides (L.), in the laboratory
Dunkin, S. de B.; Hughes, R.N. (1984). Behavioural components of prey-selection by dogwhelks, Nucella lapillus (L.), feeding on barnacles, Semibalanus balanoides (L.), in the laboratory. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 79(1): 91-103.
In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 0022-0981; e-ISSN 1879-1697, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Nucella lapillus (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Semibalanus balanoides (Linnaeus, 1767) [WoRMS]

Authors  Top 
  • Dunkin, S. de B.
  • Hughes, R.N., more

    Adult dogwhelks, maintained on mussels for 60 days before experimentation to reduce prior effects of ingestive conditioning and handling skills appropriate to barnacles, and thence deemed “inexperienced”, preferred the largest barnacles presented to them. Juvenile and adult dogwhelks, maintained on barnacles and deemed experienced, preferred barnacles of intermediate sizes that were correlated with the sizes of the dogwhelks. “Inexperienced” dogwhelks penetrated barnacles significantly more often by drilling than by prising, whereas experienced dogwhelks did the reverse. A predominant tendency to prise open barnacles was developed by previously “inexperienced” dogwhelks after they had eaten six to eight consecutive prey. Larger dogwhelks prised open greater proportions of larger barnacles than did smaller dogwhelks. Experienced adult dogwhelks prised open all barnacles of ˜2-mm opercular diameter but only 20% of those ˜ 6 mm in diameter. The preferred barnacles, 4–5 mm in opercular diameter, were of a size that the experienced adult dogwhelks could prise open in 50% of attacks.Dogwhelks inspected barnacles by crawling over them for ˜20 min when the prey were subsequently rejected and ˜30 min when subsequently eaten. Penetration time and ingestion time were linear functions of barnacle diameter, total handling time ranging from 4–26 h for barnacles of 2.5–2.7 mm opercular diameter. Experienced dogwhelks handled barnacles faster than “inexperienced” dogwhelks, largely because they used the quicker method of penetration by prising whenever possible. The yield of flesh per unit handling time was an accelerating function of barnacle size and, with experience, could be increased by a factor of ˜1.2 for barnacles of 7 mm opercular diameter to ˜2.0 for barnacles of 2 mm opercular diameter. The preference of experienced dogwhelks for barnacles somewhat smaller than the largest available, may have reflected the greater frequency with which these prey could be penetrated by the quicker method of prising. Minimizing handling time could be important in nature if there is a risk to feeding dogwhelks of being displaced by competitors. In the laboratory, 12% of dogwhelks where thus displaced.Barnacles of ˜5 mm opercular diameter were estimated to be slightly more profitable than mussels of ˜17.5-mm shell length to a dogwhelk experienced with barnacles, but less profitable to a dogwhelk that has recently fed extensively on mussels. Dogwhelks, therefore, might switch between diets predominately of barnacles or of mussels if prey of comparable profitabilities change drastically in their relative abundance on the shore.

All data in the Integrated Marine Information System (IMIS) is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy Top | Authors