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 (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (http://www.scienceofthesouth.com/), connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.

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