Marine Biology

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 219–225 | Cite as

Feeding selectivity and coexistence in two deposit-feeding gastropods

  • R. B. Whitlatch
  • S. Obrebski


The diets of 2 ecologically similar deposit-feeding gastropods (Batillaria attramentaria and Cerithidea california) are described from 3 salt marsh localities in central California, USA. Gut contents revealed high similarity in dietary composition and a predominance of benthic diatoms. Sympatric and allopatric populations of the gastropods did not differ in diet. In both species, diatom food size increased with snail length with large B. attramentaria selecting longer diatom sizes than large C. californica. Size distributions of B. attramentaria differed in sympatric and allopatric populations. In sympatric populations, snail size classes which exhibited the greatest amounts of overlap in diatom size did not occur together. Effects of size-specific behavioral interactions in the gastropods may explain these differences.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. B. Whitlatch
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Obrebski
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Marine SciencesUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  2. 2.Biological Sciences GroupUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  3. 3.Tomales Bay Marine LaboratoryMarshallUSA

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