Competition and interaction between Neosarmatium smithi (Crustacea: Grapsidae) and Terebralia palustris (Mollusca: Gastropoda) in a Kenyan mangrove
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In a Kenyan mangrove, we studied the interactions between the gastropod Terebralia palustris and the crab Neosarmatium smithi when foraging on decaying mangrove leaves. Interactions are considerable on account of their wide overlap in zonation (Rhizophora mucronata belt), food items (mangrove leaves) and activity window (diurnal low water). The snails find a leaf by a systematic transecting of the platform and eat the leaf after crawling on to it, usually en masse. The crabs rarely venture beyond 80 cm from their burrows, and once they find a leaf they quickly drag it back into their burrow, probably to reduce the strong intra-specific competition. A crab is able to drag a leaf away even if a number of snails are already feeding on it, by strongly pulling the leaf away or by pushing the snails off the leaf. The success of the “thief ” depends on both the crab's size and the number of snails on the leaf.
KeywordsFood Item Mollusca Gastropoda Mangrove Leave Activity Window
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