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Partial Emergence of the Bivalve Donax Vittatus in Response to Abrupt Changes in Light Intensity and before Spawning

  • Alan D. Ansell (a1), Carmen-Pia Günther (a2) and Michael T. Burrows (a1)


Buried individuals of the bivalve Donax vittatus (Bivalvia: Donacidae) respond to change in incident light intensity by adjusting their position in the sediment. Video recordings of activity in aquarium tanks in natural daylight revealed that individuals responded to shading by moving upwards, causing some to partially emerge from the sand. Subsequent removal of the shading stimulated reburial to the normal position. Recordings in laboratory aquaria show similar upward movement and partial emergence occurring when illumination in the visible range is switched off. Upward movement and partial emergence of D. vittatus has also been observed to take place prior to spawning.



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Ansell, A.D., 1994. In situ activity of the sandy beach bivalve Donax vittatus (Bivalvia, Donacidae) in relation to potential predation risks. Ethology Ecology and Evolution, 6, 4353.
Charles, G.H., 1966. Sense organs (less cephalopods). In Physiology of Mollusca, vol. 2. (ed. K.M., Wilbur and C.M., Yonge), pp. 455521. New York: Academic Press.
Richardson, C.A., Ibarrola, I. & Ingham, R.J., 1993. Emergence pattern and spatial distribution of the common cockle Cerastoderma edule. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 99, 7181.


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