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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 403:101-112 (2010)  -  DOI:

Predator–prey interactions in a bioinvasion scenario: differential predation by native predators on two exotic rocky intertidal bivalves

M. Soledad López1,2,*, Ricardo Coutinho1,2, Carlos E. L. Ferreira3, Gil Rilov4,5

1Divisão de Bioincrustação, Departamento de Oceanografia, Instituto de Estudos do Mar Almirante Paulo Moreira, Marinha do Brasil, Rua Kioto 253, Praia dos Anjos, Arraial do Cabo, RJ, Brazil
2Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia/Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Av. Brigadeiro Trompowsky, s/no, Ilha do Fundão, RJ, Brazil
3LECAR, Dept. de Biologia Marinha, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Campos do Valonguinho, Centro, Niterói, Brazil
4Department of Zoology, Cordley 3029, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331-2914, USA
5Present address: National Institute of Oceanography, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, PO Box 8030, Haifa 31080, Israel

ABSTRACT: The mechanisms determining the strength of interactions between non-indigenous and native species in the invaded environment are of great interest to both ecologists and managers. On a Brazilian rocky shore, we experimentally measured predation intensity and prey preference of native predators on 2 exotic bivalves, Perna perna (which has been present for centuries) and Isognomon bicolor (introduced ca. 20 yr ago). Overall, predation was more intense on P. perna than on I. bicolor. Furthermore, P. perna was preyed upon more intensively by benthic crawling predators (whelks and, possibly, crabs), while larger, more mobile predators (fish and birds) were less selective. In addition, the larger, more abundant whelk Stramonita haemastoma selectively preyed on P. perna (for which handling time was shorter), while another whelk (Trachypollia nodulosa) preferred I. bicolor, although handling time was longer. Different shell morphologies of the 2 exotic prey and resource partitioning between the whelks may explain S. haemastoma and T. nodulosa feeding preferences, respectively. The thicker valves of I. bicolor compared to those of P. perna reduced the drilling or chipping efficiency by whelks. Although these prey species belong to the same functional group, differences in their shell characteristics could entail different mechanical constraints to predators. Therefore, native predators in the study system may prefer P. perna over I. bicolor because they are still adapting their foraging skills to handle the more recent invader, I. bicolor.

KEY WORDS: Exotic prey · Novel interactions · Predation intensity · Prey preference · Intertidal · Subtropical rocky shores · Brazil

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Cite this article as: López MS, Coutinho R, Ferreira CEL, Rilov G (2010) Predator–prey interactions in a bioinvasion scenario: differential predation by native predators on two exotic rocky intertidal bivalves. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 403:101-112.

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