Morphological and Behavioral Evidence for Adaptive Diversification of Sympatric Hawaiian Limpets (Cellana spp.)

C. E. Bird
2011 Integrative and Comparative Biology  
Synopsis The endemic Hawaiian limpets (Cellana exarata, Cellana sandwicensis, and Cellana talcosa), reside at different elevations on wave-exposed rocky shores and comprise a monophyletic lineage that diversified within Hawai'i. Here, I report phenotypic differences in shell, soft tissue, and behavioral characters among these limpets and discuss their potential utility in exploiting their respective niches. The high-shore limpet, C. exarata, is characterized by a tall round shell, short mantle
more » ... entacles, and long evasion distance when confronted by a predatory gastropod. The mid-shore limpet, C. sandwicensis, is characterized by a shorter oblong shell, long mantle tentacles, and a short evasion distance when confronted by a predatory snail. The low-shore, shallow-subtidal limpet, C. talcosa, is characterized by a flat shell that is thin in juveniles and disproportionately massive in large adults (relative to the other two species), and mantle tentacles of varying lengths (some individuals exhibit short tentacles, some long). These species-specific suites of characters are likely to confer specific fitness advantages on the high shore (C. exarata) where thermal and desiccation stress is severe, on the mid shore (C. sandwicensis) where hydrodynamic forces are severe, and on the low-shallow subtidal shore (C. talcosa) where pelagic predators have free access to the limpets. These data add to the growing body of evidence for adaptive diversification and speciation in the Hawaiian Cellana, and in marine species in general.
doi:10.1093/icb/icr050 pmid:21700576 fatcat:fsgjff6itvdudpfatyrtngx4ry