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Effect of elevated predation risk on the metabolic rate and spawning intensity of a rocky shore marine gastropod
Rawlings, T.A. (1994). Effect of elevated predation risk on the metabolic rate and spawning intensity of a rocky shore marine gastropod. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 181(1): 67-79
In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 0022-0981, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Animal metabolism; Metabolic rate; Predation; Reproduction; Rocky shores; Spawning; Gastropoda [WoRMS]; Nucella emarginata (Deshayes, 1839) [WoRMS]; Marine

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  • Rawlings, T.A.

Abstract
    Water-borne chemicals released by predators can have substantial effects on the behavior and morphology of their prey. Few studies, however, have assessed the effect of risk-related, waterborne cues on other aspects of prey life-histories. In the present study, individuals of the rocky shore marine gastropod Nucella emarginata stopped spawning when held downstream from predatory crabs feeding on conspecific snails. In addition, snails exposed to crab odor also lost substantially more body weight over a 3-month period and exhibited significant differences in behavior compared to unexposed snails. The dramatic reduction in spawning activity and higher rate of weight loss did not result from the diversion of energy into morphological defenses against crab predation. Instead, these effects were likely the result of increased energetic demands associated with a heightened metabolic rate induced by the exposure of snails to increased predation risk. Hence, these results illustrate the potential for chemical cues released by actively foraging predatory crabs to have profound effects on gastropod physiology and reproduction.

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