, Volume 25, Issue 7, pp 538-541

New perspectives on the dispersal mechanisms of the Antarctic brooding bivalve Mysella charcoti (Lamy, 1906)

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Brooding is a widespread phenomenon among Antarctic bivalves. Although it should represent a handicap to dispersion, many brooding species have achieved a wide distribution in Antarctic and subantarctic waters, suggesting that they have alternative and effective methods of dispersal. Evidence of such an alternative method is presented here for the bivalve Mysella charcoti, unexpectedly found alive and healthy in feces expelled by Notothenia coriiceps (Nototheniidae: Pisces). The finding indicates that the snug-fitting shell of Mysella functions as a barrier to digestive enzymes. Withstanding passage through the digestive tract of fish allows Mysella to be passively dispersed (within the home range of the fish) and colonize new habitats or re-colonize shallow-water substrates severely impacted by ice scours.

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