The Feeding and Survival Strategies of Estuarine Molluscs

  • D. S. McLusky
  • M. Elliott
Part of the Marine Science book series (MR, volume 15)


The fauna of estuaries is characterised by having relatively few species, the number decreasing within the estuary from both the seaward and river end to reach a minimum of species at a salinity of c. 5%, whilst at the same time these few species may be extremely abundant. The abundance of estuarine animals leads to the recognition of estuaries as one of the most productive natural habitats (McLusky, 1971; in press). The high productivity of estuaries is based on their ability to retain detritus material derived from the sea, rivers or salt marshes. Feeding on this detritus are three main taxa of animals, the annelids, the crustaceans and the molluscs. The present review is concerned with the latter phylum, the molluscs, two groups of which, the gastropods and the bivalves, form a most conspicuous part of the estuarine macrofauna. As with other members of the estuarine fauna there may be relatively few species of molluscs in estuaries, but these species may be very abundant indeed.


Tidal Height Deposit Feeder Mollusc Species Estuarine Ecosystem Labial Palp 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. S. McLusky
    • 1
  • M. Elliott
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of StirlingStirlingScotland
  2. 2.Forth River Purification BoardEstuary LaboratoriesSouth Queensferry, EdinburghUK

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