Abstract

Mollusc community structure and trophic relations in the rochy littoral zone in Sucre State, Venezuela. We analyzed the structure of a mollusc community and its component trophic relations at six localities within a rocky littoral zone, in Sucre State, Venezuela, including areas that are both exposed to, and protected from, wave energy. Sampling was carried out from March 2003 to Febreuary 2004 period, in an area subdivided in to supralittoral, littoral and sublittoral zones. Samples were collected using hand-held spoons within 0.25 m2 quadrats along transects sited perpendicular to the coast line transects. Collected organisms were preserved in 10% formalin for subsequent taxonomic classification. Specific richness and constance were determined, and the four trophic categories of herbivore, suspendivore, carnivore and herbivore-suspendivore were established. Overall 14 581 individual specimens were collected that represented 68 species, 31 families and 9 orders, in the classes Gasteropoda (n=39), Bivalvia (n=23) and Polyplacophora (n=6). Suspension feeders were the dominant trophic category (49%), followed by carnivores (37%), herbivores (13%) and herbivores-suspension feeders (1%). Herbivores and suspension feeders were dominant in the protected area, while carnivores and suspension feeders were dominant in the exposed area. Data indicate that mollusc distribution and intergroupal trophic relations are controlled by both morphological features and substrate composition. Rev. Biol. Trop. 54 (Suppl. 3): 121-130. Epub 2007 Jan. 15.
Keywords: mollusc, rocky littoral, trophic relations, Sucre State, Venezuela