Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Journal Of Shellfish Research
The recent discovery of the Veined Rapa whelk (Rapana venosa, Valenciennes, 1846) in the lower Chesapeake Bay provides an opportunity to observe the initial biological and ecological consequences of a novel bioinvasion. These large predatory gastropods occur in subtidal, hard bottom habitats in the lower Bay and are capable of feeding, mating, and moving while completely burrowed. Hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria) are consumed preferentially in the laboratory when offered concurrently with oysters (Crassostrea virginica), soft clams (Mya arenaria), and mussels (Mytilus edulis). Chesapeake Bay R. venosa readily open and consume large hard clams (30 to 85 mm SH) leaving no visible signs of either drilling or boring behavior. Shell morphology and thickness may provide an inherent size-selective predation refuge for Rapa whelks in the Bay. These same shell characteristics may change the dynamics of shell selection by local hermit crabs, particularly the striped hermit crab, Clibanarius vittatus. Recent collections of striped hermit crabs from the Hampton Roads area indicate that very large striped hermit crabs are using empty Rapana shells as shelters.
Rapana Venosa; Veined Rapa Whelk; Muricidae; Thaididae; Ballast Water; Bioinvasion; Chesapeake Bay; Clibanarius Vittatus; Mercenaria Mercenaria
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Harding, Juliana and Mann, Roger L., Observations On The Biology Of The Veined Rapa Whelk, Rapana Venosa (Valenciennes, 1846) In The Chesapeake Bay (1999). Journal Of Shellfish Research, 18(1), 9-17.