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The effect of pedal mucus on barnacle cyprid settlement: a source for indirect interactions in the rocky intertidal?

  • Sebastian P. Holmes (a1)

Abstract

Laboratory assessment of barnacle cyprid settlement showed that it was increased by a multiple of ∼6 and by a multiple of ∼3 by the pedal mucus produced by Patella vulgata and by Littorina littorea, respectively. Field experiments showed that pedal mucus produced by P. vulgata could increase cyprid settlement by a multiple of ∼4, but that there was no effect of the pedal mucus produced by L. littorea. Evaluation of the effect of pedal mucus coated with nitro-cellulose and various pedal extracts, on cyprid settlement, ascertained that there appeared to be no chemotactic or chemotaxic effect of pedal mucus on cyprid settlement. In contrast, the use of a physical analogue to pedal mucus, silicon grease, increased cyprid settlement by a multiple of ∼18.  Pedal mucus produced by P. vulgata and by L. littorea increased the time spent by cyprids in surface suitability testing by a multiple of ∼10 and ∼3, respectively. Only the pedal mucus produced by P. vulgata had any effect on the exploratory behaviour of cyprids increasing the time spent on this behaviour by a multiple of ∼3. Pedal mucus affects the settlement of cyprids through adhesive enmeshment, resulting in positive feedback to the mechanoreceptors housed in the antennules of cyprids, in what is effectively a settlement cascade. Pedal mucus produced by P. vulgata and L. littorea can affect the settlement of the majority of settling marine organisms through physical entrapment. Pedal mucus produced by L. littorea will have little, if any, effect on the settlement of organisms in the field whereas the pedal mucus produced by P. vulgata may be of major importance in determining the adult distribution patterns.

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The effect of pedal mucus on barnacle cyprid settlement: a source for indirect interactions in the rocky intertidal?

  • Sebastian P. Holmes (a1)

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