Urosalpinx cinerea

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Atlantic oyster drill
Bill Franks Atlantic Oyster Drill.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda
clade Hypsogastropoda
clade Neogastropoda
Superfamily: Muricoidea
Family: Muricidae
Subfamily: Ocenebrinae
Genus: Urosalpinx
Species: U. cinerea
Binomial name
Urosalpinx cinerea
(Say, 1822)

Urosalpinx cinerea, common name the eastern or Atlantic oyster drill, is a species of small predatory sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Muricidae, the murexes or rock snails.

They use chemoreception[1] in their environment and are found to be sessile and encrusting organisms.[2] Microscopic particles released by prey are carried through the sea water and captured by the Atlantic Oyster Drill.[3] This animal is not physically able to close itself from its surrounding environment because of its siphonal canal.[4]

This species is a serious problem in commercial oyster beds, and it has been accidentally introduced well outside its natural range.

Distribution[edit]

This snail is endemic to the Atlantic coast of North America, from Nova Scotia to Nassau Sound in[5] in Florida. It has been accidentally introduced with oyster spat to Northern Europe and to the West Coast of North America from California to Washington.[6] They range in areas with salinity and temperature changing seasonally and with the tidal currents.[7]

Habitat[edit]

This species lives from low tide down to a depth of 25 feet. Its surroundings are rocky and shell beds.[2] It inhabits the lower third of the littoral zone, therefore it is sheltered from any waves the ocean produces.[5]

Life habits[edit]

As indicated by its common name, this predatory snail drills through the shells of living oysters and consumes them. Its surroundings are rocky and shell beds.[2] It inhabits the lower third of the littoral zone, therefore it is sheltered from any waves the ocean produces.[5] It selects its food of choice by the odor of the prey.[2] Once he embraces the barnacle or mussel with his foot, he drills through the shell.[1] It feeds on many different species of invertebrates. A few favorites are the barnacle Balanus balanoides and the mussel Mytilus edulis. Food supply is mainly found in intertidal areas in the Atlantic region.[5] The Atlantic Oyster Drill finds its food by smell. They are found to be more responsive to living prey than to prey that has been killed recently in a lab.[3] But there is still no preference when it comes to the prey species or age.[3]

Just like any other animal, ecological factors affect the growth of an individual. The type of food, amount of food, and the amount of time given for a species to grow are all important factors.[5] Chloride and sodium, inorganic ions, are some of the major effectors of blood in marine and estuarine invertebrates, including the Atlantic Oyster Drill.[8]

They range in size, but male and female oyster drills average 24 millimeters and 28 millimeters, respectively. Not only are females longer, but they are also taller than their males[9]. Almost all Atlantic oyster drills reach their largest size after two full growing seasons. About 70% of their size is reached within this time span. In the next four or so years to come, there is little or no increase in size anymore.[5] Unfortunately, there is no protected way to check the sex of these gastropods. Their shell must be crushed in order to see the genitalia using a microscope. Although some females possess a small vestigial formation that may look like a penis, other parts are used to confirm the sex. Finding the egg capsule gland, ovary, and any sperm ingesting glands make it easier to identify the oyster drill as a female.[9]

Human relevance[edit]

Due to their ability of "drilling" into shells, the destruction of their nature can cost millions of dollars every single year.[7]

This snail is a serious problem in commercial oyster farming:

"Next to the sea star, this snail is the worst enemy the ... [oyster fisher men] ... have to contend with. ...Settling upon a young bivalve, the oyster drill quickly bores a neat round hole through a valve, making expert use of its sandpaperlike radula. Through this perforation the oyster drill is able to insert its long proboscis and consume the soft parts of the oyster."[10]

Advocates of making use of bycatch, rather than discarding it, have promoted the oyster drill as a food, similar to escargot.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rittschof, Dan; Williams, Leslie G.; Brown, Betsy; Carriker, Melbourne R. (1983-01-01). "Chemical Attraction of Newly Hatched Oyster Drills". Biological Bulletin. 164 (3): 493–505. doi:10.2307/1541258. JSTOR 1541258. 
  2. ^ a b c d Williams, Leslie G.; Rittschof, Dan; Brown, Betsy; Carriker, Melbourne R. (1983-01-01). "Chemotaxis of Oyster Drills Urosalpinx cinerea to Competing Prey Odors". Biological Bulletin. 164 (3): 536–548. doi:10.2307/1541261. JSTOR 1541261. 
  3. ^ a b c Blake, John W. (1960-01-01). "Oxygen Consumption of Bivalve Prey and Their Attractiveness to the Gastropod, Urosalpinx cinerea". Limnology and Oceanography. 5 (3): 273–280. doi:10.4319/lo.1960.5.3.0273. JSTOR 2833015. 
  4. ^ Turgeon, Kenneth W. (1976-01-01). "Osmotic Adjustment in an Estuarine Population of Urosalpinx cinerea (Say, 1822) (Muricidae, Gastropoda)". Biological Bulletin. 151 (3): 601–614. doi:10.2307/1540509. JSTOR 1540509. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Franz, David R. (1971-01-01). "Population Age Structure, Growth and Longevity of the Marine Gastropod Urosalpinx cinerea Say". Biological Bulletin. 140 (1): 63–72. doi:10.2307/1540026. JSTOR 1540026. PMID 5543345. 
  6. ^ Abbott, R. Tucker, 1986. Seashells of North America, St. Martin's Press, New York.
  7. ^ a b Manzi, John J. (1970-01-01). "Combined Effects of Salinity and Temperature on the Feeding, Reproductive, and Survival Rates of Eupleura caudata (Say) and Urosalpinx cinerea (Say) (Prosobranchia: Muricidae)". Biological Bulletin. 138 (1): 35–46. doi:10.2307/1540289. JSTOR 1540289. 
  8. ^ Turgeon, Kenneth W. (1976-01-01). "Osmotic Adjustment in an Estuarine Population of Urosalpinx cinerea (Say, 1822) (Muricidae, Gastropoda)". Biological Bulletin. 151 (3): 601–614. doi:10.2307/1540509. JSTOR 1540509. 
  9. ^ a b Griffith, George W.; Castagna, Michael (1962-01-01). "Sexual Dimorphism in Oyster Drills of Chincoteague Bay, Maryland-Virginia". Chesapeake Science. 3 (3): 215–217. doi:10.2307/1351000. JSTOR 1351000. 
  10. ^ Abbott, R. Tucker; Violet French Morris (1995). Shells of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Houghton Mifflin Co. p. 211. ISBN 0618164391. 
  11. ^ Engelhardt, Elizabeth, "An Oyster by Any Other Name", Southern Spaces, 18 April 2011

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