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Title: The circatidal rhythm of the estuarine gastropod Hydrobia ulvae (Gastropoda: Hydrobiidae)
Author: Vieira, S.
Coelho, H.
Nolasco, R.
Serôdio, J.
Barnes, R.
Queiroga, Henrique
Keywords: Adaptation
Ria de Aveiro
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Linnean Society of London
Abstract: Intertidal animals display a suite of cyclic behaviours that evolved as adaptations to the predictable cycle of inundation and exposure. In estuarine habitats, mud snails from the genus Hydrobia are among the most abundant grazers, and have received considerable attention with respect to the behavioural mechanisms mediating locomo- tion, dispersal, and feeding, although the nature of the control of these processes has remained elusive. In particular, it is not clear whether endogenous activity patterns are related to periodic changes of microphyto- benthos biomass at the sediment surface, or whether they are timed to the tidal cycle at all. In the present study, we address the crawling activity of Hydrobia ulvae under constant conditions, as well as the effects of individual size and previous short-term exposure to tides of different range, by recording immersed individual snails under constant dark conditions. We show that the species displays an overt circatidal pattern of crawling, with activity peaks around high water, and that the start of inundation may act as an entrainment agent of the rhythm. Moreover, the results obtained indicate that smaller snails display higher levels of activity, although neither the size nor previous in situ influence of tidal range has an effect on the period and on the amplitude of the rhythm. These findings suggest that fluctuations of microphytobenthos biomass are not a sufficiently strong selective pressure to have shaped locomotor activity in H. ulvae . Moreover, feeding of H. ulvae should take place mostly during high water and be independent of periodic fluctuations of microphytobenthos biomass at the surface of the sediment.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2010.01428.x
ISSN: 0024-4066
Appears in Collections:CESAM - Artigos
Ria de Aveiro - Artigos

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