Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 5, pp 1083–1086 | Cite as

Crushing predation of the spiny star Marthasterias glacialis upon the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus

  • P. GianguzzaEmail author
  • C. Bonaviri
  • P. Guidetti
Short Communication


Literature data report that only fish predators are able to crush sea urchin tests in Mediterranean rocky reefs. This experimental study showed that the spiny star Marthasterias glacialis is able to break Paracentrotus lividus tests and that the breaking event is more likely to occur for small-sized sea urchins than for big ones. Our results show that the role of M. glacialis in regulating P. lividus population density can be important in specific locations. They may have important implications, moreover, for the use of tethering techniques aimed at identifying predator types of sea urchins.


Break Test Paracentrotus Lividus Intact Test Temperate Rocky Reef Tether Technique 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are indebted to Dr. F. Di Trapani for its indispensable help during field work. This study was funded by the M.A.T.T.M (Ministero dell’Ambiente Difesa del Territorio e del Mare) research project “Monitoraggio delle popolazioni di Paracentrotus lividus e Arbacia lixula ai fini della tutela della diversità biologica dell’AMP “Isola di Ustica”. Experiments described in this paper comply with Italian current laws.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EcologyUniversity of PalermoPalermoItaly
  2. 2.Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and TechnologiesUniversity of SalentoLecceItaly

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