All's good in a famine? Hydrobia ulvae as a secondary prey for juveniles of Iceland moonsnails Amauropsis islandica at the White Sea sandflats

Dmitriy Aristov, Marina Varfolomeeva, Georgii Puzachenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many size-selective predators switch their diet during ontogeny. At the White Sea, the adult moonsnails Amauropsis islandica feed mostly on Macoma balthica clams. The diet of juveniles was largely unknown. We conducted a field survey and a caging experiment to find out if juvenile moonsnails can prey on Hydrobia ulvae, and whether they prefer this snail to their usual prey. Live molluscs and their intact or perforated shells were collected from 34 sediment cores. We exposed the single-prey cages with 50 Macoma (MP) or 50 Hydrobia (HP) together with five Amauropsis juveniles, as well as the cages where both prey species were in a 25:25 proportion (HMP). While live Hydrobia was more abundant in the natural assemblages, Amauropsis preferred Macoma, as indicated by proportions of perforated shells. The caging experiment produced similar results. Per capita Macoma consumption rate was significantly higher than Hydrobia consumption rate (6.4 ± 0.5 mg day-1 ind.-1 vs. 1.4±0.2 mg day-1 ind.-1 in MP and HP respectively). Prey consumption rates in the single-prey treatments were higher than in mixed-prey cages regardless of prey species. Different mechanisms explain this variation: for Hydrobia it is a consequence of the dietary shift, while for Macoma it reflects the 'floor' effect in HMP cages, where virtually all Macoma had been drilled by the end of exposure term. While Macoma is the preferable prey of young Amauropsis, Hydrobia can supplement the diet of juveniles when Macoma is scarce in certain locations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1601-1606
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Volume95
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015

Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

Keywords

  • Amauropsis islandica
  • boreholes
  • caging experiments
  • Hydrobia ulvae
  • Macoma balthica
  • Naticidae
  • ontogenetic diet shift
  • predator-prey interactions
  • prey switching
  • White Sea

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