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Mussels flexing their muscles: a new method for quantifying bivalve behaviour
Robson, A.; Wilson, R.; García de Leániz, C. (2007). Mussels flexing their muscles: a new method for quantifying bivalve behaviour. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 151(3): 1198-1204.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Robson, A.
  • Wilson, R.
  • García de Leániz, C.

    We employed a novel technique to quantify how blue mussels Mytilus edulis react to predation risk in their environment by quantifying mussel gape using a Hall sensor attached to one shell valve reacting to a magnet attached to the other. Change in gape angle per second (CHIGA) versus gape angle plots resulted in a distribution with a boundary, which defined the maximum CHIGA of a mussel at all gape angles. CHIGA boundary plots for all individual mussels were similar in form. However, the CHIGA boundary increased in extent with mussel length (maximum CHIGA for mussel valve closures for mussels 2.98 and 79.6 mm long were -1.5 and -11°s-1, respectively), showing that larger mussels opened and closed most rapidly. Mussel extract added to the seawater, a factor believed to signal predation, caused mussels to close significantly faster than otherwise (P < 0.001). This approach for assessing how mussels react to their environment indicates that mussel response to predation is graded and complex and may well indicate animal-based assessments of the trade-off between effective feeding and the likelihood of predation.

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