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Two different patterns of shell-shape variation in the dog-whelk Nucella lapillus (L.)
Crothers, J.H. (1985). Two different patterns of shell-shape variation in the dog-whelk Nucella lapillus (L.). Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 25(4): 339-353. hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1095-8312.1985.tb00400.x
In: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0024-4066, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Shape; Shells (structural forms); Nucella lapillus (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; ANE, British Isles, England, Cornwall, Scilly I. [Marine Regions]; ANE, British Isles, Wales [Marine Regions]; Marine

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  • Crothers, J.H.

Abstract
    Populations of the common dog-whelk, Nucella lapillus (L.), usually show a gradation in mean shell shape related to the exposure of the shore on which they live. Enclaves from exposed headlands have shorter, squatter shells than do their compatriots in shelter. This paper describes the pattern of shell-shape variation shown by populations in the Isles of Scilly and on the north coast of Wales. In both places a gradation is present, but it is not numerically similar, the Welsh population being more elongated. It is concluded that the selective agents are the same in both places. Wave action always eliminates the most elongate-shelled whelks first, and crabs always find it easier to take the animals with the widest apertures to their shells. The reason for the observed differences between the patterns described here lies in the genetic differences between the populations: Scillonian whelks do not have the option of being as elongated as the Welsh ones, which, in turn, cannot show very short squat shells in exposure.

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