The influence of season and the tidal cycle on division of labour by the radula during feeding in the estuarine brooding gastropod Crepipatella dilatata (Calyptraeidae)

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Abstract

The brooding gastropod Crepipatella dilatata can feed by scraping the substrate with the radula and by suspensionfeeding, which also requires use of the radula. There is a “division of labour” for the radula among three discrete tasks associated with feeding: (1) removing mucous balls from the food pouch; (2) transferring the mucous cord from the neck channel to the mouth (both components of suspension-feeding); (3) scraping the substrate. We hypothesised that the proportion of time used for each feeding activity varies according to environmental conditions. Total radular activity in females was greatest at high tide and in summer. The rate of radular extrusion for ingesting the mucous cord varied seasonally and between brooding and non-brooding females. Non-brooding females exhibited higher rates of radular extrusion for ingesting the mucous cord and for scraping the substrate than did brooders. In females, radular activity in removing the mucous ball from the food pouch was strongly influenced by the tidal cycle during winter, reaching minimum values at low tide. Differences were recorded in substrate scraping among seasons and within tidal cycles, and among males, brooding females and non-brooding females. Brooding females displayed less rasping than non-brooders, since the area available for grazing was restricted by the egg mass. Throughout the year, including low salinity periods, males allocated a greater proportion of total radular activity to rasping than to removing the mucous ball or ingesting the mucous cord. The feeding behaviour of both males and females is modulated by salinity, but the principal determinants of radular activity are the mode of reproduction (brooding in females) and, in males, motility.

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Chaparro, O. R., Montory, J. A., Segura, C. J., Cubillos, V. M., Salas-Yanquin, L. P., & Thompson, R. J. (2018). The influence of season and the tidal cycle on division of labour by the radula during feeding in the estuarine brooding gastropod Crepipatella dilatata (Calyptraeidae). Helgoland Marine Research, 72(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s10152-018-0505-7

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