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Apostasy and selection for crypsis in the marine snail Littoraria filosa

journal contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Stephen MckillupStephen Mckillup, Ruth Mckillup
The marine snail, Littoraria filosa, is polymorphic for shell colour, with yellow, brown and pink morphs that correspond in both appearance and frequency to the predominant background colours of its habitat. Previous research on this polymorphism has found indirect evidence of apostatic selection and selection for crypsis by unknown agents, probably crabs, and direct evidence of selection for crypsis by the parasitoid fly Sarcophaga megafilosia. Here we report on field experiments to investigate whether (a) S. megafilosia and (b) shell crushing predators, exert apostatic selection on L. filosa. For S. megafilosia seven experimental treatments containing yellow and brown snails in the proportions of 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.8 and 0.9 of each colour were established on mangrove trees and used to separately quantify the proportions of each colour attacked on grey/brown trunks and yellow/green leaves. Results confirmed an earlier finding of selection for crypsis, but only showed slight, but significant, anti-apostatic selection by S. megafilosia. For shell crushing predators, seven experimental treatments containing yellow and brown snails in the proportions of 0.08, 0.17, 0.33, 0.50, 0.66, 0.83 and 0.92 were established on two types of trees that differed in their background proportions of brown and green: (a) trees which had been pruned of about 90% of their foliage and (b) unpruned trees. Results showed both selection for crypsis and apostatic selection. Furthermore, a selectively neutral frequency for yellow L. filosa was found for each background, and was less on pruned trees than unpruned ones (and vice versa for brown L. filosa), which can therefore account for the maintenance of a colour polymorphism where the proportions of each morph tend to resemble and correspond in frequency to the colours of the background.

Funding

Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)

History

Volume

95

Issue

1

Start Page

62

End Page

71

Number of Pages

10

eISSN

1095-8312

ISSN

0024-4066

Location

London UK

Publisher

Wiley-Blackwell

Language

en-aus

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

Centre for Environmental Management; Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Health; Not affiliated to a Research Institute;

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Journal

Biological journal of the Linnean Society.