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Comparative Analysis of Food-Finding Behavior of an Herbivorous and a Carnivorous Land Snail

Alyssa Shearer and James W. Atkinson
Invertebrate Biology
Vol. 120, No. 3 (Summer, 2001), pp. 199-205
Published by: Wiley on behalf of American Microscopical Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3227244
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Comparative Analysis of Food-Finding Behavior of an Herbivorous and a Carnivorous Land Snail
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Abstract

Although the olfactory capabilities of land snail tentacles have been tested by lesion studies and unilateral exposure of tentacles to specific odors, studies of a carnivorous species suggest that the anatomical similarities of herbivorous and carnivorous land snails may belie a fundamental difference in the way these structures are used to find food. Therefore, we challenged the herbivore. Anguispira alternata, and the carnivore, Haplotrema concavum, to find a stationary food source (carrot and caged young prey snail, respectively) under identical still air conditions. The herbivore traveled a significantly shorter distance to the food, even negotiating a barrier placed halfway between the snail and its food. The carnivore, on the other hand, followed a circuitous, apparently random, path to the food. Subsequent tests revealed that H. concavum readily follows prey slime trails while A. alternata seldom follows conspecific slime trails when a distant food source is available. These results are consistent with what might be expected as adaptations to the usually mobile nature of carnivore prey and the stationary nature of herbivore food plants. The ability of A. alternata to exhibit typical detour behavior is noted.

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