Many molluscs in tidal wetlands climb trees as the tide rises, a behaviour usually assumed to be a means of avoiding subtidal predators. Some species are more active during neap tides, when the access of subtidal predators to the forest is limited, but rest on trees during spring tides. Cerithidea anticipata, which inhabits the mangrove forests around Darwin Harbour (Northern Territory, Australia), displayed almost exactly the opposite pattern. This species climbed higher, and was less active, during neap tides that did not flood the forest than during spring tides. In experiments with tethered snails, individuals prevented from climbing died during neap tides, apparently from physiological stress. Further, individuals resting on trees around clearings, usually selected shaded sites. These results suggest that the major reason C. anticipata climbed was to avoid physiological stress during neap tides, not subtidal predators during spring tides. There was some evidence of predation under the canopy, but the rate was relatively low and the species responsible appeared to be resident in the forest.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 1994|