The diet of the dog-whelk, Nucella lapillus (Gastropoda Prosobranchia)



The information at present available suggests that, when adult, Nucella lapillus may prey upon a considerable number of different species, but that the diet of recently hatched dog-whelks is rather more restricted. The food preferences of young Nucella have been investigated and it has been concluded that, while the diet of young and adult animals may differ to some extent, it is probably equally varied at all ages, and that cannibalism may be a frequent occurrence amongst all age groups.

It has been determined that the size of the prey influences the selective predation of Mytilus by Nucella. Dog-whelks show a marked preference for mussels in the 1 to 3 cm size range which may possibly be identified chemotactically.