The Calico Scallop Community in North Carolina
Abstract:Calico scallops (Aequipecten gibbus L.) from off Core Banks, North Carolina, have been examined for macroscopic species living on or within their valves. More than 100 species of invertebrates are recorded, representing almost every major taxonomic group but the Asteroidea and Ophiuroidea. Distribution of major species within the community and community structure are examined and analyzed. Heavy fouling covered 100 per cent of upper valve surfaces and 27 per cent of lower valve surfaces, adding considerably to the volume and weight of the scallops. Four filter-feeding, encrusting invertebrate species, Balanus amphitrite and Balanus calidus (barnacles), Pomatoceros caeruleus (serpulid polychaete), and Sabellaria floridensis (sabellariid polychaete), were dominant members of the epifauna and were important in preparing this habitat for colonization by other species. Other invertebrates of special interest because of their relationship to the scallop include Pontonia margarita and Pinnotheres maculatus (decapod crustaceans) which live commensally in the mantle cavity, Ceratonereis tridentata and Polydora websteri (polychaetes) which inhabit blisters between the shell and mantle, and Odostomia seminuda (gastropod) which is found on the “ears” or margin where it feeds on the scallop as an ectoparasite.
In this community, more than half the species are of southern affinity, distributed from North Carolina southward. Seventeen range extensions from Florida or the Gulf of Mexico are recorded from North Carolina. Comparison with other epifaunal communities shows that the Aequipecten gibbus community is closely related in composition and geographic affinity to the subtropical fauna previously reported from reefs off the North Carolina coast. Principal integrating factor for this assemblage of animals is the hard substrate provided by the scallop shell, a firm substrate being required by most of the species for larval attachment.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 1964
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