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Feeding clusters and olfaction in the mangrove snail Terebralia palustris (Linnaeus) (Potamididae: Gastropoda)
Fratini, S.; Cannicci, S.; Vannini, M. (2001). Feeding clusters and olfaction in the mangrove snail Terebralia palustris (Linnaeus) (Potamididae: Gastropoda). J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 261(2): 173-183.
In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 0022-0981; e-ISSN 1879-1697
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Feeding cluster, food-finding mechanism, mangrove leaves, olfaction

Authors  Top 
  • Fratini, S.
  • Cannicci, S.
  • Vannini, M.

    Large numbers of the snail Terebralia palustris (Linnaeus) (Potamididae; Gastropoda) are frequently observed feeding in a cluster on a single fallen mangrove leaf, yet none are present on leaves nearby. Consequently, we investigated the food-finding ability of T. palustris in a Kenyan mangrove forest using field experiments. We estimated the attractive effect of different cues and analysed the paths (video-recorded) of snails when approaching a food-related odour, This intertidal snail can potentially use both air-borne and water-borne odours to locate food.
    T. palustris is attracted to conspecifics feeding on leaves, while intact leaves as well as non-feeding snails are not attractive. Moreover, the guiding stimulus appears to be compounds released when the leaves are damaged. T. palustris also seems able to discriminate between different food items; it is more strongly attracted to green mangrove leaves than senescent or fallen ones or mangrove propagules, probably because green leaves release a greater amount of attractive cues.
    Feeding snails thus recruit more snails to feed on the same leaf. The ecological implications of this behaviour are discussed: a large number of snails on the same leaf counteracts the ability of crabs to remove the leaf being eaten by the snails.

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