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The Ecology of Lough Ine. XV. The Ecological Significance of Shell and Body Forms in Nucella

J. A. Kitching, Louise Muntz and F. J. Ebling
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 35, No. 1 (Feb., 1966), pp. 113-126
DOI: 10.2307/2693
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2693
Page Count: 14
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The Ecology of Lough Ine. XV. The Ecological Significance of Shell and Body Forms in Nucella
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Abstract

1. Nucella from Carrigathorna (on the open coast) was found to have a wider shell aperture, more lightly constructed shell, heavier body, larger foot, and tighter grip to the substrate, than Nucella from the Rapids. 2. In tests in which Nucella of both types were placed in cages with Carcinus maenas, it was found that the crabs preferentially destroyed the smaller Nucella and the Nucella from Carrigathorna. 3. In tests in which Nucella of both types were exposed to current on a slate held in the Rapids, those from Carrigathorna showed greater powers of adhesion. 4. In a test in which Nucella of both types were placed on an area of intertidal rock at Carrigathorna, those of the Carrigathorna type were more successful in maintaining their foothold in rough weather. 5. In tests in which Nucella of both types were transferred to sheltered positions in Barloge Creek, where there are many crabs, those of the sheltered type survived in much greater numbers than those from the open coast. Broken shells indicated that many of the Nucella from the open coast succumbed to predation. 6. We conclude that two strong selective influences--wave action and predation--favour and probably completely account for the present distribution of the two types of Nucella.

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