Non-consumptive effects of predators on prey populations have received increased interest in recent years. For Crassostrea virginica (Eastern Oyster), much of the focus has been on induced morphological defenses (e.g., shell thickening). Here, we provide in situ documentation of a behavioral response of Eastern Oysters (valve closure) to the threat of predation on a natural reef. This behavioral response, while intuitive, has been largely ignored in the literature despite potential impacts on individual oyster health by affecting feeding and subsequently energy assimilation, reproductive condition, and growth. In situ photographs revealed that, under natural conditions, Eastern Oysters closed during the passive presence of a crab mate-guarding pair and took ∼5 minutes to reopen to pre-predator gapes. Given that multiple oysters in our photos reacted similarly, this behavioral response may scale up to have effects on the population and the ecosystem services that Eastern Oysters provide. Ultimately, our observations open the door to a number of testable hypotheses regarding a predator's non-consumptive effects on oyster reefs.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 18 • No. 3