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Shell form and niche occupation in Nucella lapillus (L.) (Gastropoda)
Kitching, J.A. (1977). Shell form and niche occupation in Nucella lapillus (L.) (Gastropoda). J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 26(3): 275-287.
In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 0022-0981, more
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    Nucella lapillus (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Marine

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  • Kitching, J.A.

    Collections of Nucella lapillus (L.) from various eastern Atlantic areas have been measured, and shell shape has been analysed by D'Arcy Thompson's method in terms of whorl ratio, apical angle, and spiral angle. In southwestern Ireland N. lapillus varies greatly from tall and narrow in sheltered situations to short and wide at very wave-exposed sites. A local population is described for a bay near Crookhaven, County Cork. In northwestern Spain the open-sea form is developed only weakly. In southwestern Ireland N. lapillus effectively populates mussel beds in the lower littoral on open coasts, whereas in Spain it is sparse or absent from such situations but plentiful high up on the shore on barnacles in places where there is some local shelter from rocks or crevices. It is suggested that failure to develop the open-sea type in Spain is responsible for this difference in niche. Both in Spain and at a site in Scotland N. lapillus feeding on mussels in sheltered situations is of the tall narrow type, so that a diet of mussels cannot alone be responsible for the development of the open sea type, although it still might be a necessary condition. It is to be expected that the genetic composition of populations will vary regionally and will contribute to variation in shell form, but the part which it plays on a purely local scale remains uncertain.

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