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AuthorGeerat J. Vermeij
TitleGastropod skeletal defences: land, freshwater, and sea compared
JournalVita Malacologica
KeywordsMollusca; Gastropoda; predation; antipredatory defence
AbstractPredation is a primary agency of natural selection affecting
the evolution of skeletal form in gastropods. The nature of
antipredatory defence depends on how predators attack their
prey as well as on the types and quantities of resources that
are available to the potential victims. Here I review the five
main methods of predation on shell-bearing gastropods (swallowing
prey whole, apertural entry, drilling, shell breakage,
and partial consumption) and 31 categories of shell and opercular
defence that are effective at one or more of the three
stages of predation (detection, pursuit, and subjugation).
These categories are evaluated for marine Palaeozoic, marine
Late Mesozoic to Recent, freshwater, and terrestrial environments.
The five types of predation are common in most environments,
but drilling and partial consumption are absent in
freshwater and unlikely in the Marine Palaeozoic, and partial
consumption may be rare on land. The fewest specialized
defences are found in freshwater, followed by the marine
Palaeozoic and Recent terrestrial environments. There has
been a sharp rise in the number of defence types and in the
degree of antipredatory specialization in marine environments
from the Palaeozoic to the Recent, particularly among
defences at the subjugation and pursuit phases of attack. The
small number of defences and the passive nature of shellbased
protective traits in terrestrial gastropods contrast with
the high diversity of antipredatory adaptations, including
those related to aggression and speed, in other land-dwelling
animal clades.
Document typearticle
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