Crushing predation of the spiny star Marthasterias glacialis upon the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus
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- Gianguzza, P., Bonaviri, C. & Guidetti, P. Mar Biol (2009) 156: 1083. doi:10.1007/s00227-009-1153-x
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Literature data report that only fish predators are able to crush sea urchin tests in Mediterranean rocky reefs. This experimental study showed that the spiny star Marthasterias glacialis is able to break Paracentrotus lividus tests and that the breaking event is more likely to occur for small-sized sea urchins than for big ones. Our results show that the role of M. glacialis in regulating P. lividus population density can be important in specific locations. They may have important implications, moreover, for the use of tethering techniques aimed at identifying predator types of sea urchins.