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Periwinkle (Littorina sitkana Gastropoda: Mollusca) Grazing Behaviour Related to Trematode Infection: a multi-site study

Mónica Ayala-Díaz*, Jean M. L. Richardson, Bradley R. Anholt

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Parasites are known to affect several aspects of the ecology, physiology and behaviour of their hosts. The intertidal periwinkle, Littorina sitkana, is host to a diverse assemblage of parasites, the best studied of which are within the Class Trematoda. Following sampling of L. sitkana from four sites in Barkley Sound, British Columbia, Canada we show that trematode prevalence and species richness differ among sites. We assessed the effects of trematode infection on grazing behaviour in periwinkles, behaviour commonly affected by the presence of trematodes. We observed decreased grazing activity in parasite-infected L. sitkana and the strength of this effect varied among collection sites. This has important implications because most experimental studies consider snails from a single location.