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.

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