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Biology/Natural History: Nudibranches which graze on this sponge include Archidoris odhneri and Anisodoris nobilis. The symbiosis is likely mutualistic. If one of the major predators of the scallop, the seastar Evasterias troschelii, encounters the scallop (and the scallop does not swim away) the seastar often turns away if it touches the sponge; likely in response to some secretion or to the spicules from the sponge. The sponge also appears to make it more difficult for the seastar's tube feet to adhere to the scallop. If the sponge is removed from the scallop and the scallop is prevented from swimming, it is readily captured by the seastar. The scallop will also swim from predators of the sponge, such as Archidoris spp, so the sponge is benefited as well. The swimming scallop may also help carry the sponge into areas with clean water and good currents, and help prevent fouling of the sponge.

Research by Kirt Onthank and Thomas Ewing at the Walla Walla University Rosario Marine Laboratory indicates that sponge encrustation deters scallop predation by octopus Enteroctopus dofleini and Octopus rubescens, both of which may be important scallop predators in our area.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 2.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

© Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory

Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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