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The circatidal rhythm of the estuarine gastropod Hydrobia ulvae (Gastropoda: Hydrobiidae)
Vieira, S.; Coelho, H.; Nolasco, R.; Serôdio, J.; Barnes, R.S.K.; Queiroga, H. (2010). The circatidal rhythm of the estuarine gastropod Hydrobia ulvae (Gastropoda: Hydrobiidae). Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 100(2): 439-450.
In: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0024-4066, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Adaptations; Behaviour; Circadian rhythm; Endogenous rhythms; Entrainment; Estuaries; Tidal cycles; Tides; Gastropoda [WoRMS]; Hydrobia ulvae (Pennant, 1777) [WoRMS]; Hydrobiidae Stimpson, 1865 [WoRMS]; ANE, Portugal, Ria de Aveiro [Marine Regions]; Marine; Brackish water
Author keywords
    adaptation; behaviour; endogenous; entrainment; estuary; Portugal; Riade Aveiro; tides

Authors  Top 
  • Vieira, S.
  • Coelho, H.
  • Nolasco, R.
  • Serôdio, J.
  • Barnes, R.S.K.
  • Queiroga, H.

    Intertidal animals display a suite of cyclic behaviours that evolved as adaptations to the predictable cycle of inundation and exposure. In estuarine habitats, mud snails from the genus Hydrobia are among the most abundant grazers, and have received considerable attention with respect to the behavioural mechanisms mediating locomotion, dispersal, and feeding, although the nature of the control of these processes has remained elusive. In particular, it is not clear whether endogenous activity patterns are related to periodic changes of microphytobenthos biomass at the sediment surface, or whether they are timed to the tidal cycle at all. In the present study, we address the crawling activity of Hydrobia ulvae under constant conditions, as well as the effects of individual size and previous short-term exposure to tides of different range, by recording immersed individual snails under constant dark conditions. We show that the species displays an overt circatidal pattern of crawling, with activity peaks around high water, and that the start of inundation may act as an entrainment agent of the rhythm. Moreover, the results obtained indicate that smaller snails display higher levels of activity, although neither the size nor previous in situ influence of tidal range has an effect on the period and on the amplitude of the rhythm. These findings suggest that fluctuations of microphytobenthos biomass are not a sufficiently strong selective pressure to have shaped locomotor activity in H. ulvae. Moreover, feeding of H. ulvae should take place mostly during high water and be independent of periodic fluctuations of microphytobenthos biomass at the surface of the sediment. (C) 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 439-450.

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