The Cannibalistic Snail Agaronia propatula is Reluctant to Feed on Autotomized ‘Tails’ of ConspecificsMarine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology (2014)
Autotomy and cannibalism increase the complexity of the life history, population structure, and population dynamics of a species. Species in which autotomy is triggered by cannibalism have rarely been studied. It has been hypothesized that in the intertidal gastropod Agaronia propatula, autotomized tissues are highly attractive to cannibals and so increase the victim’s chance to escape. We tested the hypothesis by presenting autotomized ‘tails’ to foraging animals. The attack rates on autotomized ‘tails’ were lower than those on artificial objects reported previously. Autonomously moving autotomized ‘tails’ were more frequently ignored than non-moving and artificially moved ‘tail’ pieces. Thus, autotomized tissue repelled rather than attracted potential cannibals. Autotomy in A. propatula does not help to defend against cannibalism by offering the cannibal an attractive food item for consumption. It seems possible, though, that autotomized conspecifics are less attractive to cannibals than intact ones due to a repelling action of autotomized tissues.
- Sandy Beach Intertidal
Publication DateJune 11, 2014
Ariel Z. Cyrus and Winfried S. Peters. The Cannibalistic Snail Agaronia propatula is Reluctant to Feed on Autotomized ‘Tails’ of Conspecifics. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology (2014) 47: 285-290.doi: 10.1080/10236244.2014.935561