Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Biol Sci. 2001 Jul 22;268(1475):1463-8.

Inter- and intraspecific trait compensation of defence mechanisms in freshwater snails.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK.


Trait compensation occurs when mechanically independent adaptations are negatively correlated. Here, we report the first study to demonstrate trait compensation in predator-defence adaptations across several species. Freshwater pulmonate snails exposed experimentally to predation chemical cues from fishes and crushed conspecifics showed clear interspecific differences in their behavioural avoidance responses, which were negatively correlated with shell crush resistance. The type of avoidance response varied between species: thin-shelled species (Lymnaea stagnalis and Physa fontinalis) moved to the water-line or out of the water, while those with thick shells moved under cover or showed a mixed response. There were also intraspecific size-linked differences, with an ontogenetic increase in shell strength accompanied by a decrease in behavioural avoidance. Such trait compensation in response to predation has important implications for interspecific interactions and food-web dynamics.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk