Hopkins Marine Station Student Paper

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Title: Effects of digestion on foraging behavior in Conus californicus
Student Author(s): Walling, Lisa
Kang, Gina
Faculty Advisor(s): Watanabe, James
Pages: 20
Location: Final Papers Biology 175H
Date: June 2000
Abstract: Conus californicus is the only temperate species of a large genus of predatory prosobranch gastropods. We studied their foraging behavior and diurnal patterns of activity in relation to fullness of the gut. We found 29% of 59 C. californicus obtained from the field had prey in their gut. Of these, the most common prey items were the tube-dwelling polychaetes Sabella crassicornis and Diopatra ornata. In the laboratory, C. californicus digested a full gut of S. crassicornis in 44 to 60 hours. We also found that C. californicus are more active at night than during daylight. In a laboratory experiment, C. californicus with full guts were significantly less active than unfed individuals for two consecutive nights after feeding (P <.01). During the third and fourth nights, activity increased and there were no significant differences between fed and unfed individuals (P >.44). Throughout the experiment, there were never any differences between fed and unfed individuals during daylight hours (p = 0.51). These results suggest that activity of C. californicus is influenced strongly by prey consumption: immediately after feeding, nocturnal activity decreases significantly. After an interval adequate for complete digestion, nocturnal activity resumes rapidly.