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Latin american journal of aquatic research

versión On-line ISSN 0718-560X

Resumen

DEL MONACO, Carlos; VILLAMIZAR, Estrella  y  NARCISO, Samuel. Selectivity of preys of Coralliophila abbreviata and C. caribaea in coral reefs of the National Park Morrocoy, Venezuela: an experimental approximation. Lat. Am. J. Aquat. Res. [online]. 2010, vol.38, n.1, pp.57-70. ISSN 0718-560X.

Coralliophila abbreviata and C. caribaea are tropical gastropods of the Caribbean Sea. These gastropods have shown to be important corallivores. The objective of this work was to evaluate in situ the prey selectivity of C. abbreviata and C. caribaea in some coral reefs of Morrocoy National Park by means of experimental and descriptive methods. We used quadrats of 1 m2 to estimate coral abundance and richness, number of Coralliophila specimens, and coral species preyed on by Coralliophila sp. in three sites at each locality. For the experiment, we enclosed in cages five coral colonies of different species together with 10 individuals of C. abbreviata located in the center of the cages and equidistant to all colonies. A total of 8 exclusion cages of 1 m3 were evaluated. We observed in situ a higher relation predator-prey between C. abbreviata and the hexacoral species M. annularis, representing 56.8% of the total interactions at all localities, followed by D. strigosa (19.3%), A. agaricites (12.2%), C. natans (4.6%) and A. tenuifolia (3.1%). C. caribaea presented a higher relation predator-prey with the octocoral species E. caribaeorum (42.6%), followed by those with the hexacoral species C. natans (24.1%), M. faveolata (11.1%), P. porites (7.4%) and D. strigosa (11.1%). The experiment showed a major relation between C. abbreviata and M. annularis, with 53.3% of total interactions, followed by those of C. natans (17.8%), A. tenuifolia and D. strigosa (11.1%) and A. agaricites (6.7%). According to the outcomes C. abbreviata is thought to generate a larger impact than C. caribaea on Morrocoy National Park because its more common preys are mainly coral reef building species while C. caribaea predate mainly on E. caribaeorum, which is a competitive species of hexacorals.

Palabras clave : Coralliophila sp.; corallivorous; prey selectivity; coral reef; Morrocoy National Park; Caribbean sea; Venezuela.

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