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BEHAVIOURAL ADAPTATIONS OF MUSSELS TO VARYING LEVELS OF FOOD AVAILABILITY AND PREDATION RISK

Abstract : Blue mussels Mytilus edulis (n = 14) were studied in the laboratory using Hall sensor systems to record their gaping behaviour when exposed to varying food rations and levels of predation risk. Mussel response to increasing daily algal ration was to increase mean gape angle per day and was associated with copious pseudofaeces production at excessive initial algal concentrations, e.g. 250 cells/ml. Mean gape angle decreased (backward S-shaped curve) when fed a fixed algal ration per day where simulated predation risk (introduced fresh mussel homogenate) increased in the water, presumably as an anti-predation strategy. However, this behaviour is presumed to lower feeding rates. There was a general positive relationship between both gape angle and the extent of valve movement (abduction/adduction) per event and valve movement speed. However, the fastest valve adduction events, which resulted in valve closure, were recorded independent of gape angle and only when mussels were first exposed to high perceived predation risk. We interpret this as an appropriate response, with high energetic cost, as a first line of defence from predators such as starfish and crabs. Overall, mussel response to predation appears graded and complex, indicating a trade-off between maximizing feeding/pseudofaeces production and minimizing predation risk.
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https://hal.univ-brest.fr/hal-00639139
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Anthony Robson, Carlos Garcia de Leaniz, Rory Wilson, Lewis Halsey. BEHAVIOURAL ADAPTATIONS OF MUSSELS TO VARYING LEVELS OF FOOD AVAILABILITY AND PREDATION RISK. Journal of Molluscan Studies, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2010, 76 (4), pp.348-353. ⟨10.1093/mollus/eyq025⟩. ⟨hal-00639139⟩

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