Maintenance of zonation patterns in two species of flat periwinkle, Littorina obtusata and L. mariae

  • Gray A. Williams
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 111)


The zonation patterns of Littorina obtusata (L.) and Littorina mariae Sacchi et Rastelli were shown to be quite distinct on a sheltered rocky shore. L. obtusata was found at all the heights sampled; it reached peak numbers at mid shore on the alga Ascophyllum nodosum L. (Le Jol). There was no difference in the tidal height occupied by adults or juveniles; or in the mean size of L. obtusata along the vertical gradient of the shore. In contrast L. mariae occurred exclusively low on the shore, on Fucus serratus L. Translocation of the two species within their respective levels resulted in random movement after 4 days, although initial movements after 1 and 2 days were sometimes directional. Animals transplanted to the normal level of the other species showed directional movement towards their home zone; this was most pronounced after 4 days. There was no difference in the distance moved by the two species, although the distance moved did vary with tidal height, both species moving further at mid shore than low shore. Distances moved by littorinids at replicate areas in the low shore were similar but those at mid shore did vary. There was an interaction between the species and the different tidal heights which revealed that transplanted species moved further than translocated species at the same tidal level. However, this was only significant in the case of L. mariae. It is suggested that the close relationship between the winkles and their host algae may direct the homing behaviour of displaced individuals.

Key words

epiphytes behaviour rocky shore Littorina obtusata Littorina mariae 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gray A. Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.The Swire Institute of Marine Science and Department of Ecology and BiodiversityThe University of Hong KongHong Kong

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