Corallivory of the gastropod Jenneria pustulata (Ovulidae: Pediculariinae) in two coral reefs at Gorgona Island NNP
Coral reefs are very important and highly biodiverse ecosystems that are exposed to various stressors, including biological ones, such as parasitism and corallivory – the direct consumption of coral tissue by a predator. Knowledge on the effects of corallivory on the coral reefs in the Colombian Pacific is poor. Therefore a study was set up to quantify the abundance of and the corallivory rate by the snail Jenneria pustulata in La Azufrada and Playa Blanca coral reefs (Gorgona Island, Colombia). Snails were manually sampled from the underside of Pocillopora sp. colonies and measured in situ to determine their size structure for each reef. To measure possible damage caused by corallivory, several snails were kept under controlled laboratory conditions for 24 h. Snail sizes and corallivory varied significantly between reefs (P=0.0001; P«0.001). Snails from Playa Blanca were larger than snails from La Azufrada, while corallivory was higher in La Azufrada than in Playa Blanca. Although corallivory rates by J. pustulata are smaller than rates reported for other predators in different coral species, it is recommended to continue this kind of investigations in order to increase the knowledge on biological dynamics of this species and to understand how they affect the reefs at Gorgona Island.
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