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Chemosensory responses and foraging behavior of the seastar Pycnopodia helianthoides
Brewer, R.; Konar, B. (2005). Chemosensory responses and foraging behavior of the seastar Pycnopodia helianthoides. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 147(3): 789-795. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-005-1608-7
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Brewer, R.
  • Konar, B.

Abstract
    Chemical cues released by damaged or dead organisms can affect how and where benthic organisms feed. These cues may cause predators to act as opportunistic scavengers in lieu of their normal predatory role. A scavenger, as defined in this study, is an organism that consumes damaged and/or dead organisms. In-situ experiments were performed to determine how the seastar Pycnopodia helianthoides (Brandt) reacts in the presence of chemical cues from one of its prey species, the butter clam Saxidomus giganteus (Deshayes), using both intact and damaged individuals. The results of these experiments suggest that P. helianthoides use their chemosensory abilities to locate damaged/dead prey. The role of current in propagating chemical cues was paramount in this foraging activity. P. helianthoides chose damaged prey over live prey even when live prey was encountered en route to the damaged individual. This study suggests that chemical cues emitted from damaged or dead individuals may cause significant changes in foraging tactics of key predators, thus altering food-web dynamics.

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