Marine Biology

, Volume 144, Issue 4, pp 675–684 | Cite as

Induced anti-predator responses of the green mussel, Perna viridis (L.), on exposure to the predatory gastropod, Thais clavigera Küster, and the swimming crab, Thalamita danae Stimpson

  • S. G. CheungEmail author
  • S. Lam
  • Q. F. Gao
  • K. K. Mak
  • P. K. S. Shin
Research Article


A laboratory experiment was conducted to test whether anti-predator responses could be induced in the green mussel, Perna viridis, on exposure to waterborne cues from two predators, the muricid gastropod, Thais clavigera, and the portunid crab, Thalamita danae, and from damaged conspecifics. There were five treatments in this study. Aquaria of two treatments housed either Thalamita danae or Thais clavigera. Another three treatments housed only intact mussels, broken and intact mussels, or no mussels. No significant differences were found among these five treatments in final shell weight and tissue dry weight. Induced defensive responses were predator-specific. Experimental mussels exposed to waterborne cues of T. clavigera had a higher percentage increase in shell length, height and width, whereas those exposed to waterborne cues of T. danae had a higher percentage increase in shell width and height. Mussels raised in the presence of crabs developed thicker shell at the umbo and lip margin, whereas mussels raised in the presence of gastropods had thicker shell lip. Predator preference for mussels from the control group and for those pre-exposed to waterborne cues of either of the predators was studied. T. clavigera preferentially selected mussels from the control group, whereas no prey preference was found for T. danae, although shell breaking time for mussels exposed to a crab was longer than that for the control. While the present results should be viewed with caution in the absence of a dietary control, this was the first time that prey handling was shown to be affected by defensive changes in the morphology of mussels.


Shell Thickness Shell Length Shell Height Thick Shell Shell Width 
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The work described in this paper was fully supported by a grant from City University of Hong Kong (Project No. 7100160). We thank Prof. Raymond Seed and Dr. Desmond O’Toole for comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. Constructive comments from the two anonymous reviewers are also appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. G. Cheung
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Lam
    • 1
  • Q. F. Gao
    • 1
  • K. K. Mak
    • 1
  • P. K. S. Shin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology and ChemistryCity University of Hong KongKowloonPeople’s Republic of China

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