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Herring gulls learn to feed on a recent invader in the Dutch Wadden Sea, the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas
Cadée, G.C. (2001). Herring gulls learn to feed on a recent invader in the Dutch Wadden Sea, the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas. Basteria 65: 33-42
In: Basteria: Tijdschrift van de Nederlandse Malacologische Vereniging. Nederlandse Malacologische Vereniging: Leiden; Lisse. ISSN 0005-6219, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Feeding behaviour; Introduced species; Marine birds; Oysters; Oysters; Predators; Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg, 1793) [WoRMS]; ANE, Wadden Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine

Author  Top 
  • Cadée, G.C.

Abstract
    Herring gulls (Larus argentatus) learned to exploit a new food source in the Wadden Sea near Texel, the introduced Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas. The first 'wild' specimens of this oyster were observed in 1983. Due to a series of warm summers in the 1990s, the invader success- fully reproduced and rapidly spread over the Dutch Wadden Sea. Herring gulls break large bivalves by shell-dropping; they lift oysters (and adhering attached objects) of up to 93 grams in weight. They were less successful in breaking the shells of oysters than of mussels Mytilus edulis; only about one third of the oysters were broken by shell-dropping, in mussels this was nearly 100%. Experiments indicated mussels to break easier during shell dropping. Future research will indicate whether herring gulls will leam to improve their breaking technique.

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