What did we find?
- A. columbiana exposed to the scent of damaged bivalve tissue moved in a more concentrated/consistent direction than did those in the simple flowing seawater.
- Addition of a feeding cue to the seawater flow did not change trail following behavior. The snails tend to find and follow one another’s trails whether food is present or not.
- A. columbiana readily detect the scent produced by damaged tissue and respond strongly to that cue, moving to the source and attempting to feed. While most strongly attracted by damaged tissue alone, the snails also moved directly toward chemical cues associated with the feeding behavior of predatory sea stars. The presence of a dangerous predator did not prevent the snails from being attracted to the feed event. This feeding strategy probably relates to an unusual defense behavior of A. columbiana reported by Braithwaite et al. (2010). The potent defense of this snail allows it to exploit a food resource that may be unavailable to other scavenging invertebrates.
ReferencesBraithwaite L.F., B. Stone, and B.L. Bingham (2010) Defensive behavior of the gastropod Amphissa columbiana. J. Shellfish Res. 29: 217-22
Davies, M.S. and J Blackwell (2007) Energy saving through trail following in a marine snail. Proc. R. Soc. B. 274: 1233-1236
Stone, B. C. (1976) Population characterization and feeding behavior of a subtidal neogastropod, Amphissa columbiana. MS thesis. Brigham Young University.