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The surface characteristics of pedal mucus: a potential aid to the settlement of marine organisms?

  • Sebastian P. Holmes (a1) (a2), Andrew Cherrill (a1) and Mark S. Davies (a1)

Abstract

Surface characteristics including wettability, thickness and adhesive potential of the pedal mucus produced by Patella vulgata and Littorina littorea were measured, to determine their effects on the settlement of marine organisms. The pedal mucus produced by P. vulgata was less wettable than that produced by L. littorea. For organisms that prefer to settle on hydrophobic substrata the pedal mucus produced by P. vulgata would be their preferred settlement site. The pedal mucus produced by stationary P. vulgata was thicker (mean thickness±SE=0·37±0·004 mm) than the pedal mucus produced by mobile P. vulgata and/or that produced by L. littorea, neither of which differed in their thickness (mean thickness±SE =0·10±0·01 mm).  The pedal mucus produced by P. vulgata had a greater adhesive potential (mean force of adhesion for the size range of mimics examined=3715–5380 Nm2) than the pedal mucus produced by L. littorea (mean force of adhesion for the size range of mimics examined=2846–3361 Nm2). Comparison of the adhesive potential of the pedal mucuses with a pedal mucus analogue, silicon grease, suggests that the pedal mucuses function as a Stefan (1874) adhesive when adhering organisms.

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The surface characteristics of pedal mucus: a potential aid to the settlement of marine organisms?

  • Sebastian P. Holmes (a1) (a2), Andrew Cherrill (a1) and Mark S. Davies (a1)

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