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Competition for the home and aggressive behaviour in the chiton Acanthopleura gemmata (Blainville) (Mollusca: Polyplacophora)
Chelazzi, G.; Focardi, S.; Deneubourg, J.-L.; Innocenti, R. (1983). Competition for the home and aggressive behaviour in the chiton Acanthopleura gemmata (Blainville) (Mollusca: Polyplacophora). Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 14(1): 15-20.
In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. Springer: Berlin; Heidelberg. ISSN 0340-5443, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Chelazzi, G.
  • Focardi, S.
  • Deneubourg, J.-L.
  • Innocenti, R.

    Computerized screening of all the positions recorded during a synodic month on 120 individually marked chitons (Acanthopleura gemmata) pinpointed their preferential resting points. Unlike the majority of intertidal chitons so far studied, A. gemmata rests in well-defined homes actively dug in the rock. Homes proved to be not strictly individual and periodically interchangeable. A complex aggressive behaviour was recorded in the field when two animals came in contact at home. When competing for ownership of a resting site rival chitons may suppress their nocturnal feeding activity. Despite its strong home-related territoriality A. gemmata showed no mutual exclusion on the feeding area. The highly specialized resting habits clearly protects A. gemmata from its most important predator, the toad fish Arothron immaculatus. The behaviour of A. gemmata is compared to that of other chitons and gastropods, and the current hypotheses concerning the adaptive value of the homing behaviour in littoral molluscs are discussed.

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