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Borehole Selectivity in Mollusk Species

Megan Tumpey, Mr. Werner, Biology I Period 3


Received 7 December 20
Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science, Manahawkin, NJ 08050
Predators such as the Northern moon snail and the oyster drill, common mollusks found off the
Jersey Shore, feed on bivalves by boring holes into their shells using their sharp radula. It is
unknon hether these predators consciously decide to drill into a specific part of the shell or not. !
lab as conducted to attempt to understand the tendencies of the moon snail and oyster drill. Many
predated bivalve shells ere gathered and studied to determine the anser to this mystery. It as
discovered that the most predation occurred in the second sector of the bivalve shells "#ig. $%. &his
area is usually the oldest and thinnest part of the shell. It as concluded that the intelligent predators
kno to drill into the second sector for the 'uickest and easiest access to the flesh of the mollusk.
(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((
Introduction
!ome mollu"#", par$icularly moon
"nail" %Lnatia hero!& and oy"$er drill"
%"ro!al#in$ cinerea&, 'ave a very "pecial
(ay o) )eeding on $'eir prey. T'eir main die$
con"i"$" o) bivalve"*mollu"#" (i$' $(o
"'ell"*"uc' a" "ur) clam" and li$$le clam",
+ingle "'ell", "callop", mu""el", oy"$er", and
co,uina". T'e bivalve"- adduc$or mu"cle"
ma#e i$ impo""ible )or $'e "mall "nail" and
drill" $o pry $'e "'ell" o) $'eir prey open.
T'ere)ore, in order $o ge$ $o $'e mea$ o) $'e
mollu"#, moon "nail" and oy"$er drill" 'ave
developed an in$ere"$ing )eeding me$'od.
#igure )* "+eft% Lunatia heros, "right% Urosalpinx
cinerea
.ir"$, $'e preda$or mu"$ reac' i$"
prey, mo"$ o) ('ic' are in)aunal organi"m".
T'e moon "nail u"e" i$" mu"cular )oo$ $o
burro( in$o $'e "edimen$ and grab i$"
)avori$e prey* clam". I$ al"o con"ume"
bivalve" "uc' a" "ur) clam" %S#i!la
!olidi!!ima&, blue mu""el" %Mytil! edli!&,
and .o""or co,uina" %%ona$ varia&ili!&. T'e
"nail $'en drag" i$" meal $o $'e "ur)ace
be)ore beginning $'e "econd proce"" o)
)eeding %!nail-" /dy""ey&. T'e "nail $urn" i$"
prey "o $'a$ $'e umbo i" )acing i$. 0n acidic
c'emical i" "ecre$ed $o "o)$en and (ear
do(n $'e "'ell o) i$" prey. T'e moon "nail
$'en drill" a "mall 'ole in $'e "'ell
%!c'ae)er& u"ing i$" radula. T'e radula i"
1$'e $oo$'ed "$ruc$ure $'a$ allo("
'erbivorou" "nail" $o "crape algae o)) a roc#
and a "cavenging "nail $o $ear o)) c'un#" o)
)le"' )rom a dead )i"'2 %Mar#&. In $'e ca"e"
o) $'e moon "nail and oy"$er drill, 1i$ i" al"o
$'e $ool u"ed by "nail" li#e $'i" "pecie" $o
drill a 'ole rig'$ $'roug' $'e 'ard "'ell o) a
clam2 %Mar#&. T'e umbo i" ('ere preda$or"
"eem $o c'oo"e $o drill $'e mo"$. T'e e3ac$
rea"oning i" un#no(n, bu$ i$ i" obviou" $'a$
$'e "nail" are "ucce"")ul regardle"" o) $'eir
mo$ive". 0)$er $'e per)ec$, $iny 'ole i"
drilled, $'e moon "nail commence" in
"$ic#ing i$" probo"ci" in$o i$. T'e radula,
('ic' i" u"ed )or "craping algae and o$'er
prey, i" on $'e end o) $'e probo"ci". Wi$' i$
$'e "nail ea$" $'e )le"' o) $'e bivalve.
/y"$er drill" pre)er $o con"ume
oy"$er" %'ra!!o!trea virginica&4 'ence, $'eir
common name. T'ey )eed muc' in $'e "ame
(ay a" $'e moon "nail. /y"$er drill" (ill
grab oy"$er" (i$' $'eir mu"cular )oo$ and
apply acid $o $'e "'ell )or abou$ 50 minu$e",
according $o a "$udy $'e 6ollege o) 0r$" and
!cience" in Wa"'ing$on 'a" conduc$ed. T'i"
c'emical "o)$en" $'e "'ell )or ea"ier boring.
0)$er $'e 'ole i" crea$ed, $'e "'arp radula i"
u"ed $o "crape up $'e )le"' )rom $'e oy"$er.
0l$'oug' $'e"e $(o preda$or" are
able $o drill $'roug' $'e "'ell" o) o$'er
mollu"#", "ome bivalve" are no$ (i$'ou$
pro$ec$ion. !ome, li#e $'e bay "callop
%Argo#ecten irradian!&, 'ave ridge" called
1decora$ion"2 $'a$ run along $'e leng$' o)
$'eir "'ell". T'e"e decora$ion" "$reng$'en $'e
"'ell, ma#ing i$ more di))icul$ )or $'e
drilling preda$or" $o acce"" and po$en$ially
"aving $'e prey )rom being con"umed
%0le3ander&.
I$ i" 'ypo$'e"i7ed $'a$ mo"$ bore
'ole" (ill be loca$ed near $'e 'inge, ('ere
$'e "'ell i" (ea#e"$.
Methodology
T'e group-" ob+ec$ive (a" $o )ind
any in$ac$ bivalve "'ell" $'a$ 'ad been bored
in $o by a preda$or, mo"$ li#ely a moon "nail
or oy"$er drill, in order $o en'ance our
under"$anding o) $'e"e uni,ue )eeding
me$'od". .our ga$'ering group" (ere
e"$abli"'ed, and eac' group (a" given a bag
in ('ic' $o pu$ any bivalve "'ell" $'a$ (ere
)ound. W'ile driving $o $'e beac', $'e cla""
(ro$e in)orma$ion abou$ $'e de"$ina$ion and
$'e curren$ (ea$'er condi$ion" in$o )ield
+ournal". 0)$er reac'ing $'e beac' in !ur)
6i$y, 8ong Beac' I"land %.ig. 2&, $'e )our
group" "pli$ up immedia$ely $o ga$'er a"
many bored "'ell" a" po""ible. T'e "earc'
(a" concluded a)$er abou$ 'al) an 'our.
T'e le""on )or $'e ne3$ day included
iden$i)ying and recording $'e di))eren$
"pecie" o) bivalve" $'a$ 'ad been collec$ed.
0mong $'e mo"$ common (ere "ur) clam"
and +ingle "'ell". To aid in iden$i)ying $'e
organi"m", 0bbo$$-" (ield )ide to Shell!*
Atlantic and )lf 'oa!t! and the +e!t
,ndie! (ere u"ed. 0)$er all $'e "'ell" (ere
correc$ly iden$i)ied, $'e ne3$ "$ep (a" $o u"e
a diagram o) a "'ell $'a$ Mr. Werner
provided $o de$ermine ('ic' "ec$ion o) $'e
mollu"# 'ad been bored in $o. T'ere are nine
di))eren$ region" on bivalve "'ell" %.ig. 3&.
T'e di))eren$ "ec$ion loca$ion" vary
depending on ('a$ "'ape $'e bivalve-" "'ell
di"play"9 $riangular, ova$e, or rec$angular:
elonga$e %0le3ander&. ;ac' group comple$ed
$'i" $a"# individually.
.inally, all $'e da$a (a" inpu$ in$o a
"ingle ;3cel $able. .our "pecie" (ere u"ed in
$'e $able9 "ur) clam", li$$le "ur) clam", +ingle
"'ell", and .o""or co,uina" %Table &.
!eeing all o) $'e )igure" $oge$'er, $'e cla""
(a" able $o de$ermine ('ic' "ec$or" mo"$
commonly 'eld bore 'ole" in eac' o) $'e
"'ape" o) "'ell. T'e conclu"ion (a" $'a$
mo"$ "'ell" 'ad 'ole" near $'e 'inge, or
umbo, ('ic' i" $'e olde"$ and u"ually $'e
(ea#e"$ par$ o) $'e "'ell %.ig. 5:7&. I$ i"
#igure ,* Sectors
#igure -* Beach at Surf .ity, +BI
)ound in "ec$or 2 o) bivalve" (i$' $riangular
and ova$e "'ell", and "ec$or < o) rec$angular:
elonga$ed "'ell".
/esults
&able )9 Preda$ed "pecie" collec$ed and $'eir "'ape"
#igure 0* &he number of boreholes
by sector in Surf .lam "Spisula solidissima%.
T'e cla"" )ound $'a$ ou$ o) = $o$al
S#i!la !olidi!!ima, )our 'ole" (ere bored
in$o "ec$or one4 05 in "ec$or $(o4 $'ree
'ole" in "ec$or $'ree4 and eig'$ in "ec$or )ive.
T'i" re"ul$" in $'e conclu"ion $'a$ $'e mo"$
'ole" (ere bored near $'e umbo %.ig. 5&.
#igure 1* &he number of boreholes
by sector in +ittle Surf .lam "Mulina literalis%.
T'e $o$al number o) 'ole" di"covered
in Mlina literali! (a" >. /u$ o) $'o"e
"i3$y:one, one 'ole (a" )ound in "ec$or one4
<5 in "ec$or $(o4 $(o in eac' o) "ec$or" )our
and )ive4 one in "ec$or "i34 and one in "ec$or
eig'$. In $'i" prey "pecie", al"o, i$ can be
concluded $'a$ $'e preda$or" pre)erred $o
drill near $'e olde"$ par$ o) $'e "'ell %.ig. <&.
#igure 2* &his figure shos the number of
boreholes by sector in Jingle Shells "Anomia
simplex%
In all $'e Anomia !im#le$ collec$ed,
$'ere (ere 3> $o$al bore 'ole" recorded.
00 (ere in "ec$or $(o4 2? in "ec$or )ive4
and eig'$ in "ec$or "i3 %.ig. >&. 0l$'oug'
$'e"e "'ell" are cla""i)ied a" a di))eren$
"'ape $'an $'e clam", $'e mo"$ 'ole" (ere
"$ill crea$ed neare"$ $'e umbo on eac'
"pecimen.
#igure 3* &his figure shos the number of
boreholes by sector in #ossor .o'uina "Donax
fossor%.
.or $'e )inal "pecie" ob"erved,
%ona$ fo!!or, $'ere (ere a $o$al o) 7 bore
'ole". .ive (ere in "ec$or $(o4 eig'$ in
"ec$or )ive4 $'ree in "ec$or "i34 and one in
"ec$or "even %.ig. 7&. T'e rec$angular:
elonga$e "'ape o) $'i" "pecie" i" $'e rea"on
$'a$ $'e mo"$ 'ole" (ere drilled clo"er $o $'e
cen$er o) $'e "'ell4 'o(ever, i$ i" "$ill
"urrounding $'e umbo, ('ic' "uppor$" $'e
'ypo$'e"i".
/u$ o) all $'e 'ole" recorded, $'e
large"$ percen$age o) $'em (a" )ound in
"ec$or $(o %.ig. ?&. By "$udying .igure ?,
$'e 'ypo$'e"i" $'a$ mo"$ 'ole" (ould be
Species Scientific Name Shape
!ur) 6lam S#i!la !olidi!!ima Triangular
8i$$le !ur) 6lam Mlina literali! Triangular
.o""or 6o,uina %ona$ fo!!or ;longa$e
@ingle !'ell" Anomia !im#le$ /va$e
05 5 3
?
<5
2 2

00
2? ?
<
? 3

drilled in "ec$or 2, clo"e"$ $o $'e umbo, i"


proven correc$. T'e "ec$or" near $'e lip" o)
$'e bivalve "'ell" (ere $'e lea"$ preda$ed, i)
$'ey con$ained any 'ole" a$ all. T'i" i"
becau"e $'e "'ell i" $'ic#er and more
di))icul$ $o drill in $o near $'e"e area".
4iscussion
.rom $'e re"ul$" o) $'e da$a in $'i"
lab, i$ i" "ugge"$ed $'a$ boring preda$or" li#e
Lnatia and "ro!al#in$ con"ciou"ly drill
in$o $'e olde"$ par$ o) $'eir prey-" "'ell*$'e
umbo. I$ i" advan$ageou" )or $'e preda$or" $o
drill in$o $'eir prey near $'e umbo becau"e,
according $o Dr. 0le3ander-" ob"erva$ion" o)
variou" bivalve "'ell" %.ig. ?&, $'e umbo i"
$'e $'inne"$ and (ea#e"$ par$ o) $'e "'ell. I$
i" un#no(n 'o( $'e"e mollu"#" are a(are o)
$'e ideal po"i$ion )or drilling %!nail-"
/dy""ey&, bu$ i$ doe" provide $'e be"$ acce""
$o $'e )le"' o) $'e bivalve. T'e umbo i"
loca$ed in "ec$or $(o o) $riangular bivalve".
I$ (a" di"covered $'a$ 05 'ole" (ere bored
in $'i" "ec$or )or S#i!la %.ig. 3&, and <5 in
Mlina %.igure 5&. Becau"e $'e"e (ere $'e
mo"$ 'ole" bored in any "ec$or o) $'e $(o
"pecie", $'i" da$a "uppor$ed $'e 'ypo$'e"i".
T'e 'inge o) ova$e bivalve" i" al"o loca$ed
in "ec$or $(o. T'e mo"$ 'ole" bored in$o
Anomia in a "ingle "ec$or (ere 00 in "ec$or
$(o %.ig. <&. T'i" al"o prove" $'e 'ypo$'e"i"
$rue. .inally, $'e mo"$ 'ole" in %ona$ (ere
$'e eig'$ 'ole" loca$ed in "ec$or < %.ig. >&.
T'i" (a" $'e only piece o) da$a $'a$
con$ra"$ed $'e 'ypo$'e"i", a" $'e umbo o)
rec$angular:elonga$e bivalve" i" no$ )ound in
$'i" "ec$or. I$ i" po""ible, 'o(ever, $'a$ $'e
amoun$" o) da$a u"ed )or $'i" "$udy (ere
in"u))icien$ and no$ comple$ely reliable )or
"upplying accura$e da$a. T'e re"ul$" o) $'e
lab may 'ave been di))eren$ 'ad more "'ell"
been collec$ed and ob"erved. Aever$'ele"",
$'e 'ypo$'e"i" (a" correc$ in i$" predic$ion"
)or mo"$ o) $'e bivalve "'ell" ga$'ered.
#igure $* Percentages of Boreholes in Sectors
#igure 5* Shell &hickness by 4r. !le6ander
.onclusion
T'e )inal re"ul$" o) $'e lab "uppor$
$'e 'ypo$'e"i" $'a$ $'e mo"$ preda$ion (ould
be )ound in $'e "ec$or neare"$ $o $'e umbo"
o) $'e bivalve "'ell". T'i" implie" $'a$ "ec$or
$(o (ould con$ain $'e mo"$ 'ole". I$ i"
probable $'a$ $'e preda$or" Lnatia and
"ro!al#in$ $end $o drill in$o $'eir prey near
$'i" "ec$or becau"e $'e "'ell-" old age and
$'inne"" provide" ea"y acce"" $o $'e )le"' o)
$'e mollu"# %.ig. =&.
75B o) $'e 333 "'ell" collec$ed 'ad
preda$ion in "ec$or $(o %.ig. ?&. Co(ever, a
grea$ number o) $'e "'ell" (ere $riangular
and ova$e. I$ (a" in $'e"e "'ell" $'a$ $'ere
(ere many 'ole" di"covered in "ec$or $(o. I$
appear" )rom $'e ga$'ered da$a $'a$ in
elonga$e:"'aped "'ell", preda$ion occur" in
di))eren$ area". Cad more elonga$e "'ell"
been collec$ed, $'e percen$age" and
populari$ie" o) $'e mul$iple "ec$or" may 'ave
been di))eren$.
I$ i" al"o po""ible $'a$, becau"e $'e
.o""or co,uina" are "o "mall and delica$e,
$'e boundarie" o) $'e di))eren$ "ec$or" may
'ave been di))icul$ $o +udge. !ome bore
'ole" ('ic' loo#ed $o be in "ec$or $(o may
'ave in reali$y been loca$ed in "ec$or one,
)or e3ample. 0ny mi"calcula$ion" in
de$ermining $'e "ec$or o) $'e bore'ole" (ill
'ave a))ec$ed $'e ou$come o) $'e da$a.
/ne la"$ )ac$or $'a$ may 'ave
con$ribu$ed $o a mi"$a#e in $'e da$a i" $'e
number o) $o$al "'ell" collec$ed. 0l$'oug'
333 i" a lo$ o) "'ell", i$ i" no$ very many
('en compared $o $'e million" o) "'ell" $o
be )ound on $'e beac', or $'e $'ou"and"
o$'er preda$ed one". Cad more "'ell" been
collec$ed and ob"erved, $'e re"ul$" (ould
'ave been more accura$e and reliable. D"ing
more "'ell" (ould 'ave c'anged $'e re"ul$"
o) $'e lab, and could po""ibly 'ave proven
$'e 'ypo$'e"i" $o be incorrec$.
In conclu"ion, )rom $'e re"ul$" o) $'e
ga$'ered da$a, i$ (ould "eem $'a$ Lnatia
and "ro!al#in$ do con"ciou"ly drill in$o $'e
"econd "ec$or "peci)ically becau"e o) $'e
"imple acce"" i$ provide" $o $'e mea$ o) $'eir
prey. T'e $'in, old, (ea# "'ell near $'e
umbo i" unable $o pro$ec$ $'e mollu"# a"
(ell a" i$ doe" $o(ard $'e lip.
!cknoledgements
I (ould li#e $o ac#no(ledge Mr.
Werner )or providing )igure", diagram", and
rubric" $'a$ (ere e3$remely u"e)ul ('en
crea$ing $'e re"ul$" and organi7ing $'e en$ire
lab. Aic# Roma, Ea$rina MacAeil, and
Taylor 6ra(ley, a" member" o) Froup 5,
'elped (i$' collec$ing and iden$i)ying
"pecimen". T'e en$ire cla"" (a" e3cellen$ in
ga$'ering addi$ional "'ell" $o en'ance $'e
da$a.
7orks .ited
0bbo$$, R. Tuc#er, and Percy 0. Morri". A
(ield )ide to Shell!* Atlantic and )lf
'oa!t! and the +e!t ,ndie!. Bo"$on9
Coug'$on Mi))lin, 200. Prin$.
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200>. Web. 0 Dec. 20.
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H'$$p9II(((.d)(."$a$e.or.u"IMRPIpublica$io
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