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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 298:305-309 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/meps298305

Australian scallops do not recognise the introduced predatory seastar Asterias amurensis

Kate S. Hutson1,2,*, D. Jeff Ross1, Rob W. Day1, John J. Ahern1

1Department of Zoology, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
2Present address: School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Darling Building, DP418, The University of Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia

ABSTRACT: Escape responses of Australian scallops (Pecten fumatus and Chlamys asperrima) to native and introduced predatory seastars were compared in laboratory and field trials. The native seastar Coscinasterias muricata elicited an almost immediate escape response by scallops in all trials. In contrast, there was a low frequency of escape response exhibited by scallops when held in contact with the introduced seastar Asterias amurensis. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that escape response in invertebrates has evolved relative to predation risk. The absence of predator recognition in marine invertebrates may have serious implications for wild and farmed populations in southern Australia where introduced predators are prevalent.

KEY WORDS: Predator recognition · Escape response · Introduced species · Northern Pacific seastar

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