Divergent shell shape as an antipredator adaptation in tropical land snails

Masaki Hoso*, Michio Hori

*この研究の対応する著者

研究成果査読

31 被引用数 (Scopus)

抄録

Although many land snails exhibit amazingly divergent shell shapes in the tropics, the functions of these remain obscure. Here we show that a modified aperture shape acts as an impediment specifically to predation by a snail-eating snake. Pareas iwasakii (Colubridae: Pareatinae) uses a unique method to feed on land snails: the snake extracts the soft body from the shell through the aperture by alternately retracting its mandibles. The snail Satsuma caliginosa (Camaenidae: Camaeninae) has apertural variation in regard to the presence of snail-eating snakes. Our experiments demonstrated that the distorted aperture mechanically impeded predation by this gape-limited predator, interrupting the mandibular movements. In contrast, congeneric snails with round apertures did not escape predation by snakes. The paleobiogeography of the focal area indicates that the subspecies Satsuma caliginosa picta, which does not have apertural modification, was derived from a defensive ancestor after the extinction of snail-eating snakes. Our study suggests a possibility that snail-eating snakes are responsible for divergent shell shapes in a variety of tropical land snails.

本文言語English
ページ(範囲)726-732
ページ数7
ジャーナルAmerican Naturalist
172
5
DOI
出版ステータスPublished - 2008 11
外部発表はい

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • 生態、進化、行動および分類学

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