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Microgeographical shell variation in Littorina striata, a planktonic developing periwinkle
De Wolf, H.; Backeljau, T.; Medeiros, R.; Verhagen, R. (1997). Microgeographical shell variation in Littorina striata, a planktonic developing periwinkle. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 129(2): 331-342
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 29949 [ OMA ]

    Animal morphology; Regional variations; Littorina striata King, 1832 [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • De Wolf, H., more
  • Backeljau, T., more
  • Medeiros, R.
  • Verhagen, R.

    Littorina striata is a strictly Macaronesian, intertidal periwinkle with planktonic development. The species produces both nodulose and smooth shells, which co-occur at Ilheu de Vila Franca do Campo, a drowned crater situated about 1000 m off the south coast of Sao Miguel, Azores. The present work describes and analyzes the shell variation, temporal change and ecological distribution of the two shell types at this crater over a 3-year period. Nodulose shells were more common in the sheltered lagoon inside the crater, while smooth specimens dominated the outside of the wave-exposed crater. Moreover, nodulose specimens were smaller and weighed less compared to smooth ones. However, regardless of morphotype, shells from the lagoon had a smaller aperture and were less globose than those from the outside. Within an exposure regime, smooth specimens had a larger aperture. These patterns remained constant over time. They are tentatively interpreted as functional adaptations to thermal stress and wave exposure. The mechanisms that maintain these patterns are still unknown. Yet, aperture height of specimens transplanted from the lagoon to the outside increased markedly over a period of 5 months, whereas no comparable changes were observed in other experimental groups (i.e. transplanted from the outside into gr the lagoon, transplanted within the outside and transplanted within the lagoon; the latter two transplant groups being the blancos). This suggests that at least the aperture size in L. striata may be an ecophenotypically plastic trait.

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