MEPS 212:171-181 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/meps212171

Shell wiping in Calliostoma zizyphinum: the use of pedal mucus as a provendering agent and its contribution to daily energetic requirements

Sebastian P. Holmes*, Claire J. Sturgess, Andrew Cherrill, Mark S. Davies

The Northumbrian Water Ecology Centre, The Science Complex, The University of Sunderland, Sunderland SR1 3SD, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom
*Present address: Nederlands Instituut voor Onderzoek der Zee, Postbus 59, 1790 AB, Den Burg, Texel, The Netherlands.E-mail:

ABSTRACT: The phenomenon of shell wiping in Calliostoma zizyphinum (L.) was investigated with regard to its potential function as a feeding adaptation. It was determined that C. zizyphinum will, on average, wipe the surface of its shell with its foot twice every 24 h, in the process consuming any matter that has adhered to the pedal mucus present on the surface of its shell. Examination of the importance of shell wiping to C. zizyphinum, both as a mechanism to reduce shell fouling and as a source of nutrition, revealed that the prevention of shell wiping resulted in a reduction in shell growth by a factor of 0.67 and an increase in shell fouling by a factor of 9. Measurement of the metabolic rate of C. zizyphinum ascertained that an average sized adult had a metabolic requirement of ~117 J 24 h-1. Examination of the ability of the pedal mucus produced by C. zizyphinum to act as a provendering agent showed that the pedal mucus produced by C. zizyphinum could increase the entrapment of particulate matter by a factor of 8, and increase the chlorophyll a content of a substratum by a factor of 3. Calculation of the potential contribution of the matter trapped by pedal mucus, which is ingested through shell wiping, to the daily energetic requirements of C. zizyphinum revealed that shell wiping can contribute to approximately one-fifth of the daily energetic requirement of C. zizyphinum. Shell wiping therefore has an important role for both feeding and antifouling in C. zizyphinum.


KEY WORDS: Antifouling · Calliostoma zizyphinum · Energetics · Energy budgets · Pedal mucus · Provendering · Shell wiping


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