- 1) Department of Zoology, Animal Ecology Research Group, South Parks Road, OX1 3PS, Oxford, UK
Physa fontinalis (L.) gives a characteristic, chemically mediated escape response when stimulated by the majority of British leeches and flatworms. The snail responds rapidly and consistently to contact with all the molluskivorous leeches but also to three species which may be considered harmless. However, no response was given to Erpobdella octoculata, the most abundant and widespread of the harmless leeches. The flatworms generally evoked less strong reactions. The adaptive significance of the pattern of responsiveness is discussed. A weaker shell-shaking response is elicited in conspecifics and it is shown that this ‘antisocial’ behaviour leads to a relatively spaced-out dispersion pattern. A possible adaptive advantage is the reduction of risk of detection by shell-crushing fish predators, to which the snails are otherwise extremely vulnerable.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 4 - invertebres
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics