Data from: Dynamic measurements of black oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) predation on mussels (Mytilus californianus)
Miller, Luke P.; Dowd, William W. (2019), Data from: Dynamic measurements of black oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) predation on mussels (Mytilus californianus), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.jp33n5f
Intertidal zone mussels can face threats from a variety of predatory species during high and low tides, and they must balance the threat of predation against other needs such as feeding and aerobic respiration. Black oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani) on the Pacific coast of North America can depend on the mussel Mytilus californianus for a substantial portion of their diet. Observations suggest that oystercatchers tend to focus on mussels beginning to gape their valves during rising tides, following periods of aerial emersion. We present detailed, autonomous field measurements of the dynamics of three such predation events in the rocky intertidal zone. We measured accelerations of up to 4 g imposed on mussels, with handling times of 115 to 290 s required to open the shell and remove the majority of tissue. In each case a single oystercatcher attacked a mussel that had gaped the shell valves slightly wider than its neighbors as the rising tide began to splash the mussel bed, but no other obvious characteristic of the mussels, such as body temperature or orientation, could be linked to the oystercatcher’s individual prey choice.
National Science Foundation,