Predation upon Laternula elliptica (Bivalvia, Anatinidae): A field manipulation in South Bay, Antarctica
- 1) Instituto de Ecología y Evolución, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Casilla, 567, Valdivia, Chile
The presence of empty shells of Laternula elliptica that provide refuge sites for juvenile fishes on the soft-bottom surface of South Bay, Antarctica, has been difficult to explain because this bivalve normally lives deeply buried (>50 cm). L. elliptica individuals unburied and aggregated at the surface by the action of icebergs could be consumed by mobile predators. This paper examines experimentally both burying rates and predation upon unburied L. elliptica in the field at South Bay. Live and intact L. elliptica were hand-collected by diving, and separated in 16 groups of 10 each, and placed on mud-sand bottoms protected from the ice disturbance at a depth of 17 m in South Bay. Eight groups were confined by open wooden frames so as to exclude predators, mainly star-fish and gastropods, the other eight remained as control. Species and number of predators and burying rates were estimated during 23 days. Within the first 24 h, 30% of the bivalves buried themselves, after which, rates fell abruptly. By the end of the day 23, only 60% had successfully buried; of the 40% which remained unburied, 20% were consumed by the following sequence of predators: Odontaster validus, Cryptasterias turqueti, Parborlasia corrugatus, Neobuccinum eatoni and two species of amphipods; all completely consumed one bivalve in 5–7 days. The 20% that remained unburied constituted potential prey though they showed no signs of being attacked by O. validus during the observation period. In addition to serving as prey, L. elliptica provides empty and intact shells used as refuge sites by juvenile fishes.
- 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 - General Agricultural and Biological Sciences