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Random walk, zonation and the food searching strategy of Terebralia palustris (Mollusca, Potamididae) in Kenya
Vannini, M.; Cannicci, S.; Mrabu, E.; Rorandelli, R.; Fratini, S. (2008). Random walk, zonation and the food searching strategy of Terebralia palustris (Mollusca, Potamididae) in Kenya. Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 80(4): 529-537. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2008.09.020
In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0272-7714, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keywords
Author keywords
    mangrove, Molluscs, random walk strategy, food searching

Authors  Top 
  • Rorandelli, R.
  • Fratini, S.

Abstract
    Terebralia palustris is a common mud-whelk present at a particularly high density in all Indo-West Pacific mangroves. Young snails feed on nothing but mud while larger specimens are able to feed on fallen leaves too. In Kenya (Mida Creek) under the canopy, competition for mangrove leaves can be very high due to the high density of Sesarmidae crabs. On open exposed muddy platforms, no Sesarmidae occur but the leaf density is very low because the leaves are only randomly present as they are deposited and removed twice a day by the tide. However, the snail density is always very high, raising the question as to whether the snails use a special searching strategy to optimize their resource finding rather than a purely random movement. By analyzing the snails' movements on a uniform area at different levels and comparing them with simulated random paths, we could show that the snails' movements are not purely random. The distribution of different size classes of T. palustris in Mida Creek was known to be quite odd: the same simulation approach suggests that the zonation asymmetry could reasonably be due to the stochastic recruitment of juveniles in space and time and maintained by a substantial long-lasting spatial inertia.

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