High biogeographic and latitudinal variability in gastropod drilling predation on molluscs along the eastern Indian coast: Implications on the history of fossil record of drillholes

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title



Studies on the large-scale latitudinal patterns of gastropod drilling predation reveal that predation pressure may decrease or increase with increasing latitude, or even show no trend, questioning the generality of any large-scale latitudinal or biogeographic pattern. Here, we analyze the nature of spatio-environmental and latitudinal variation in gastropod drilling along the Indian eastern coast by using 76 samples collected from 39 locations, covering ∼2500 km, incorporating several ecoregions, and ∼15° latitudinal extents. We find no environmental or latitudinal gradient. In fact, drilling intensity varies highly within the same latitudinal bin, or oceanic sub-basins, or even the same ecoregions. Moreover, different ecoregions with their distinctive biotic and abiotic environmental variables show similar predation intensities. However, one pattern is prevalent: Some small infaunal prey taxa, living in the sandy-muddy substrate-which are preferred by the naticid gastropods-are always attacked more frequently over others, indicating taxon and size selectivity by the predators. The result suggests that the biotic and abiotic factors, known to influence drilling predation, determine only the local predation pattern. In the present case, the nature of substrate and prey composition determines the local predation intensity: Soft substrate habitats host dominantly small, infaunal prey. Since the degree of spatial variability in drilling intensity within any time bin can be extremely high, sometimes greater than the variability across consecutive time bins, temporal patterns in drilling predation can never be interpreted without having detailed knowledge of the nature of this spatial variability within a time bin.



Publication Date



Open Access, Gold

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