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Divergent Induced Responses to an Invasive Predator in Marine Mussel Populations

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Science  11 Aug 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5788, pp. 831-833
DOI: 10.1126/science.1125485

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Abstract

Invasive species may precipitate evolutionary change in invaded communities. In southern New England (USA) the invasive Asian shore crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus, preys on mussels (Mytlius edulis), but the crab has not yet invaded northern New England. We show that southern New England mussels express inducible shell thickening when exposed to waterborne cues from Hemigrapsus, whereas naïve northern mussel populations do not respond. Yet, both populations thicken their shells in response to a long-established crab, Carcinus maenas. Our findings are consistent with the rapid evolution of an inducible morphological response to Hemigrapsus within 15 years of its introduction.

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