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Keywords:

  • Polymorphism;
  • land snails;
  • habitat selection;
  • non-visual selection

The behaviour of morphs of Arianta arbustorum has been investigated using a new technique involving a paint which fades in daylight. The technique was used to study the response of different morphs to exposure to sunlight at a homogeneous woodland habitat and a heterogeneous open habitat. The yellow morph showed a significantly higher rate of fading than the brown morph. A mark, release and recapture programme was used to analyse the association between frequencies of different morphs recaptured and not recaptured. In both habitats, there was a general tendency for the frequency of recapture to increase with increasing age in both morphs. Habitat selection resulting from different behaviour of different morphs of A. arbustorum is discussed. Morph frequencies can be related to habitat, the brown morphs of A. arbustorum are significantly less frequent in the open habitat. The behavioural responses of Cepaea hortensis, present with A. arbustorum in two other populations, to the exposure of sunshine were also studied. Climatic selection by solar energy associated with different morphs, species and habitat are also discussed.