Stimulation of Food Species Growth by Limpet Mucus

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Science  24 Aug 1984:
Vol. 225, Issue 4664, pp. 843-844
DOI: 10.1126/science.225.4664.843


The trails of mucus secreted by certain species of intertidal limpets serve as adhesive traps for the microalgae that are their primary food resource. In addition, the mucus trails of two solitary homing limpets, Lottia gigantea and Collisella scabra, stimulate growth of the microalgae that the limpets consume. In contrast, the trails of an aggregating limpet, Collisella digitalis, do not stimulate microalgal growth. These results and their possible ecological significance are interpreted in light of the differences in the behavioral repertoires of the three limpet species.