Data from: Size selection by a gape-limited predator of a marine snail: insights into magic traits for speciation


The intertidal snail Littorina saxatilis has repeatedly evolved two parallel ecotypes assumed to be wave adapted and predatory shore crab adapted, but the magnitude and targets of predator-driven selection are unknown. In Spain, a small, wave ecotype with a large aperture from the lower shore and a large, thick-shelled crab ecotype from the upper shore meet in the mid-shore and show partial size-assortative mating. We performed complementary field tethering and laboratory predation experiments; the first set compared the survival of two different size-classes of the crab ecotype while the second compared the same size-class of the two ecotypes. In the first set, the large size-class of the crab ecotype survived significantly better than the small size-class both on the upper shore and in the laboratory. In the second set, the small size-class of the crab ecotype survived substantially better than that of the wave ecotype both on the upper shore and in the laboratory. Shell-breaking predation on tethered snails was almost absent within the lower shore. In the laboratory shore crabs (Pachygrapsus marmoratus) with larger claw heights selected most strongly against the small size-class of the crab ecotype, whereas those with medium claw heights selected most strongly against the thin-shelled wave ecotype. Sexual maturity occurred at a much larger size in the crab ecotype than in the wave ecotype. Our results showed that selection on the upper shore for rapid attainment of a size refuge from this gape-limited predator favors large size, thick shells, and late maturity. Model parameterization showed that size-selective predation restricted to the upper shore resulted in the evolution of the crab ecotype despite gene flow from the wave ecotype snails living on the lower shore. These results on gape-limited predation and previous ones showing size-assortative mating between ecotypes suggest that size may represent a magic trait for the thick-shelled ecotype.

Metadata Access
Creator González-Lavín, Nerea;Boulding, Elizabeth G.;Rivas, María José;Rolán-Alvarez, Emilio;Galindo, Juan
Publisher Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)
Publication Year 2016
Rights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
Resource Type Dataset
Discipline Medicine
Temporal Point 2016-12-27T11:59:59Z