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Attachment features of mytilids in ecosystems with mobile substrate: Brachidontes rodriguezii in San Antonio Bay (Patagonia, Argentina)

  • María Cecilia Salas (a1) (a2), Omar Defeo (a3) and Maite Narvarte (a1) (a2)


The force required to dislodge mussels from the substrate is known as attachment strength. This feature has been mostly studied in mytilids inhabiting the intertidal of consolidated rocky substrates, whereas it has been less studied in sedimentary substrates. The aim of this study was to evaluate the attachment strength and the number of byssal threads of Brachidontes rodriguezii in two sites with mobile substrates in San Antonio Bay, Argentina [Punta Verde (PV) and Punta Delgado (PD)]. PV has relatively higher current velocities and coarser grain size than PD. Along coastal line transects at two different levels of the mid-intertidal of each site, the attachment strength was measured. The number of byssal threads in collected mytilids and the weight of the sediment adhered to them were recorded in the lab. The attachment strength, the number of byssal threads and the sediment adhered to the byssus differed significantly between levels and sites. Mytilids from the mid-level of both sites where the density was relatively lower, had a significantly greater number of byssal threads and higher weight of sediment adhered. This study reveals that a high amount of coarse sediment adhered to the byssus affects the attachment strength of B. rodriguezii in ecosystems relative to unstable substrates. We underline the importance of mobile substrates in understanding attachment features (attachment strength and byssal threads) of mytilids in this unstable ecosystem.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: M.C. Salas, Instituto de Biología Marina y Pesquera Almirante Storni, Av. Güemes 1030, Escuela Superior de Ciencias Marinas, Universidad Nacional del Comahue (8520) San Antonio Oeste, Río Negro, Argentina email:


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Attachment features of mytilids in ecosystems with mobile substrate: Brachidontes rodriguezii in San Antonio Bay (Patagonia, Argentina)

  • María Cecilia Salas (a1) (a2), Omar Defeo (a3) and Maite Narvarte (a1) (a2)


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