How do Limpets Maintain Barnacle-Free Submerged Artificial Surfaces?
To reveal how limpets maintain barnacle-free patches on man-made substrata, we transplanted intertidal Patella coerulea L. (19–27 mm shell length) to experimental glass and steel panels, and compared these panels with control panels, free of limpets. All panels were submerged at 1-m depth in the port of Ashdod, Israel, during the time of peak recruitment of Balanus amphitrite (Darwin). Observations through the glass on limpets moving over barnacle-infested glass panels showed that they do not bulldoze young recruits with the front edge of their shell. Stomach analyses did not implicate limpets as barnacle predators. But enclosing the steel panels with a fine net that collected all objects detached from the panel surfaces, revealed that limpets accelerated barnacle detachment and mortality. This presumably is achieved by repeatedly running over the barnacles by the foot of the limpet, thus undermining the barnacles hold. Barnacles attaining a rostro-carinal diameter >ca. 1.5 mm were not detached by limpets.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1994-01-01
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