Loggerhead turtles preying on snails

For the love of God, not the mollusks! Not the mollusks!  Wait a minute they are invasives. Go ahead. Game on.

Here we report the first observations of loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta preying on a conspicuous molluscan invader, the rapa whelk Rapana venosa. An average number of 136 opercula were found in stomach contents of five turtles, the curved carapace length ranging in from 51 to 112 cm. No other alimentary items were found in the turtles analyzed. We suggest that the rapa whelk may constitute up to 100% of the diet for immature and mature loggerheads in the Río de la Plata estuary (Uruguay), highlighting the plastic nature of the foraging behavior of loggerheads.

via Loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta (Linnaeus) preying on the invading gastropod Rapana venosa (Valenciennes) in the Río de la Plata Estuary – Carranza – 2010 – Marine Ecology – Wiley Online Library.

Dr. M (1720 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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