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Recruitment patterns in an intertidal species with low dispersal ability: the reef-building Dendropoma cristatum (Biondi, 1859) (Mollusca: Gastropoda)

Franzitta, G., Capruzzi, E., La Marca, E. C., Milazzo, M., Chemello, R.
The Italian journal of zoology 2016 v.83 no.3 pp. 400-407
Gastropoda, breeding season, larvae, littoral zone, plankton
In the Mediterranean, the gastropod Dendropoma cristatum (sin. D. petraeum (Monterosato, 1884)) is the primary builder of the vermetid reef, an intertidal bioconstruction of exceptional ecological importance. Despite awareness of the need for conservation of this key species, the biology of D. cristatum remains poorly understood. The recruitment of D. cristatum deserves particular attention because the absence of a planktonic larval stage limits its dispersal ability. We examined the temporal pattern of recruitment during the breeding season of D. cristatum from June to September in 2013. Specifically, we compared the two portions of the vermetid reef (i.e. the inner edge and the outer edge) at localities with different exposures to wave motion. The number of recruits peaked in July, when it was significantly higher in the outer than in the inner edge. No differences emerged between localities with different wave exposures; however, the width of the reef was significantly related to the exposure index. Although there are still several gaps in our knowledge of the recruitment dynamics of D. cristatum , this study contributes to characterising recruitment rate variation at small spatial and temporal scales.