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Free Content Significance of Shell Thickness in Cowries (Mesogastropoda: Cypraeidae)

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The thickness of the gastropod shell reflects a number of environmental influences. Predation and unfavorable environments which slow the growth rate both are associated with thicker shells in many species. An analysis of shell thickening in some adult Hawaiian cowrie species was carried out to examine the relationship between shell thickness and gradients in depth and exposure. The results show that the lateral calluses in five species are inversely related to depth; the species in the shallowest environments are characterized by thicker lateral calluses. Analysis of Cypraea caputserpentis, which was available in the greatest numbers, produced results consistent with those obtained for the other species. The lateral callosities of this species are significantly associated with depth and water flow conditions. The suggestion is made that while shell form may be the consequence of predation pressure, the thickness of lateral shell calluses may be more closely associated with localized shell deposition caused by a behavioral response of the mantle to moving water.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1989-09-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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