The food of Ancylus fluviatilis (Müll.), a littoral stone-dwelling, herbivore

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    Abstract

    A. fluviatilis is a herbivore which usually ingests periphyton. Evidence derived from both field observation and laboratory experiments suggests that the limpet prefers diatoms and that within this group Gomphonema is apparently the most attractive genus. These food preferences were most clearly defined in satiated individuals. Snails had no apparent effect on algal community structures in the field situation and it is suggested that this may either result from adaptability of the periphyton with respect to grazing disturbances, or from low snail density and thus low grazing intensity. The food preferences of A. fluviatilis in particular, and other algal exploiters in general, are discussed in terms of plant defense mechanisms. It is argued that an animal's ability to cope with algal cell walls (either in a mechanical or chemical sense) may be one of the major determinants in the food preference behaviour shown by herbivores feeding on algae.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)113-133
    Number of pages21
    JournalOecologia
    Volume13
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 1 1973

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    food preference
    food choices
    herbivore
    herbivores
    periphyton
    algae
    snail
    snails
    food
    grazing
    preference behavior
    Gomphonema
    plant defense
    algal community
    grazing intensity
    defense mechanism
    Bacillariophyceae
    defense mechanisms
    community structure
    diatom

    Cite this

    The food of Ancylus fluviatilis (Müll.), a littoral stone-dwelling, herbivore. / Calow, P.

    In: Oecologia, Vol. 13, No. 2, 01.06.1973, p. 113-133.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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