Variability in the motion behaviour of intertidal gastropods: ecological and evolutionary perspectives

Coraline Chapperon, Laurent Seuront

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    The variability in motion behaviour properties was investigated for three species of intertidal gastropods at the inter-specific, inter-individual and individual levels in the absence of abiotic and biotic cues. Interspecific differences in movement patterns were reminiscent of the optimal searching behaviours expected for Austrocochlea porcata, Nerita atramentosa and Bembicium melanostomum in their natural environment. Specifically, N. atramentosa, A. porcata and B. melanostomum respectively displayed extensive and intensive foraging strategies consistent with their feeding ecology. The related inter-individual variability within each species highlights the potential ability of species to adapt their movement patterns to new environmental conditions and to persist over long-term changes. Finally, the strong variability observed in the speed and turning angle of individuals of the three species and the resulting behavioural plasticity may be an adaptive strategy to optimize energy expenditure and to react to an environmental fluctuation. Specifically, it is suggested that the lack of significant differences in individual behavioural variability between the three species indicates that despite clear inter-specific differences in motion behaviour, at the individual level A. porcata, N. atramentosa and B. melanostomum have similar abilities to face environmental fluctuations. This work stresses that individual variability in the motion behaviour of intertidal gastropods constitutes a fundamental evolutionary advantage when facing heterogeneous environmental conditions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)237-244
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of The Marine Biological Association of The United Kingdom
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


    • behaviour
    • marine gastropods
    • movement
    • variability


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