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The Biology of Terebra gouldi Deshayes, 1859, and a Discussion of Life History Similarities among Other Terebrids of Similar Proboscis Type

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Title:The Biology of Terebra gouldi Deshayes, 1859, and a Discussion of Life History Similarities among Other Terebrids of Similar Proboscis Type
Authors:Miller, Bruce A.
Date Issued:Jul 1975
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Citation:Miller BA. 1975. The biology of Terebra gouldi Deshayes, 1859, and a discussion of life history similarities among other terebrids of similar proboscis type. Pac Sci 29(3): 227-241.
Abstract:Although gastropods of the family Terebridae are common in subtidal
sand communities throughout the tropics, Terebra gouldi, a species endemic to
the Hawaiian Islands, is the first terebrid for which a complete life history is known.
Unlike most toxoglossan gastropods, which immobilize their prey through
invenomation, T. gouldi possesses no poison apparatus and captures its prey with a
long muscular proboscis. It is a primary carnivore, preying exclusively on the
enteropneust Ptychodera flava, a nonselective deposit feeder. The snail lies completely
buried in the sand during the day, but emerges to search for prey after dark.
Prey are initially detected by distance chemoreception, but contact of the anterior
foot with the prey is necessary for proboscis eversion and feeding.
The sexes in T. gouldi are separate, and copulation takes place under the sand.
Six to eight spherical eggs are deposited in a stalked capsule, and large numbers of
capsules are attached in a cluster to coral or pebbles. There is no planktonic larval
stage. Juveniles hatch through a perforation in the capsule from 30-40 days after
development begins and immediately burrow into the sand. Growth is relatively
slow. Young individuals may grow more than 1 cm per year, but growth rates slow
considerably with age. Adults grow to a maximum size of 8 cm and appear to live
7-10 years.
Natural predation on adults 3 or more years old is insignificant, but the sand crab
Calappa hepatica and the gastropod Natica gualteriana successfully prey on younger
Other terebrids with a proboscis nearly identical in structure to that of T. gouldi
exhibit similar life history aspects, including habitat preference and prey choice. It
is suggested that proboscis types may be useful in predicting basic life history
aspects throughout the family.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 29, Number 3, 1975

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