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The ecology of Lough Ine: XIII. Experimental observations of the destruction of Mytilus edulis and Nucella lapillus by crabs
Ebling, F.J.; Kitching, J.A.; Muntz, L.; Taylor, C.M. (1964). The ecology of Lough Ine: XIII. Experimental observations of the destruction of Mytilus edulis and Nucella lapillus by crabs. J. Anim. Ecol. 33(1): 73-82
In: Journal of Animal Ecology. Blackwell Science/British Ecological Society: Oxford. ISSN 0021-8790 , more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Interactions; Predation; Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Nucella lapillus (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Ebling, F.J.
  • Kitching, J.A.
  • Muntz, L.
  • Taylor, C.M.

Abstract
    1. This paper concerns the interactions of Mytilus edulis, Nucella lapillus (which feeds on Mytilus), and certain crabs (which are shown to feed on both under experimental conditions). 2. In cages in the shallow sublittoral, Carcinus maenas (large or small) broke open only small Mytilus. Portunus puber broke open fairly large ones, and Cancer pagurus broke or prized open the largest available. 3. Nucella was placed in cages in the shallow sublittoral together with Mytilus as food. Protected in this way from predators, it survived and fed over the observation period of 5 weeks. 4. Nucella from the open coast (Carrigathorna) has a larger body whorl, a larger aperture, and a thinner and weaker shell than Nucella from the Rapids. 5. In cages, large Carcinus broke open large Nucella from Carrigathorna but small Carcinus broke only small ones. Portunus puber and Cancer pagurus also broke open large ones. 6. Portunus puber broke open many more Nucella from Carrigathorna than from the Rapids when given the choice. 7. Portunus puber was observed feeding on Mytilus and on Nucella in the laboratory. The master chela was used to crack Mytilus at the umbo and to break off the body whorl of the shell of Nucella. The crab's power to break open shells was tested to its limit.

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