Antarctic limpets, Nacella concinna, from the Admiralty Bay (King George Island, South Shetlands) for at least part of the year (austral winter) co-exist with predatory sea stars Lysasterias sp. Our laboratory and field experiments established that the presence of Lysasterias sp. or its odour had considerable influence upon their behaviour. Limpets’ responses, consisting of shell mushrooming, shell rotation and flight, were distinctly different from their reaction to other stimuli, such as food and conspecific odours, or mechanical stimulation. Moreover, a significant impact of sea star presence on limpets’ activity was observed, with limpets fleeing to a distance of 60 cm from the predator. Such reactions allow limpets to lower the incidence of sea star predation, but at the cost of presumptive disrupting of foraging and an additional energy expended for locomotion. A visible difference was noted between two limpet populations, with the rockpool limpets responding only after physical contact with being touched by a sea star, and the subtidal ones responding at a distance of up to 20 cm.
Odour Escape Response Subtidal Zone Subtidal Environment Conspecific Odour
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Data presented in this study were collected during the XXVIII Polish Antarctic Expedition at H. Arctowski Station (King George Island, South Shetlands). The work was financed by the State Committee for Scientific Research grant 3 P04F 023 25 (years 2003–2006). We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for constructive advice that has improved our paper.
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