Scarred limpets at hydrothermal vents: evidence of predation by deep-sea whelks

J.R. Voight, Julia Sigwart

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The chaotic physical and chemical environment at deep-sea hydrothermal vents has been associated with an ecosystem with few predators, arguably allowing the habitat to provide refuge for vulnerable species. The dominance of endemic limpets with thin, open-coiled shells at north Pacific vents may support this view. To test their vulnerability to predation, the incidence of healed repair scars, which are argued to reflect non-lethal encounters with predators, were examined on the shells of over 5,800 vent limpets of Lepetodrilus fucensis McLean (1988) that were collected from 13 to 18 August 1996. Three vent fields on the Juan de Fuca Ridge at ca. 2,200 m depth were sampled, two within 70 m of 47 degrees 56.87'N 129 degrees 05.91'W, and one at 47 degrees 57.85'N 129 degrees 05.15'W with the conspicuous potential limpet predators, the zoarcid fish Pachycara gymninium Anderson and Peden (1988), the galatheid crab Munidopsis alvisca Williams (1988), and the buccinid snail Buccinum thermophilum Harasewych and Kantor (2002). Limpets from the predator-rich vent were most often scarred, a significant difference created by the high incidence of scars on small (
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-133
Number of pages5
JournalMarine Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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