Diet preferences of the Aglajidae: a family of cephalaspidean gastropod predators on tropical and temperate shores
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Aglajidae is a family of tropical and temperate marine Cephalaspidea gastropod slugs regarded as active predators. In order to better understand their food habits and trophic interactions, we have studied the diet of all genera through the examination of gut contents. Specimens were dissected for the digestive tract and gut contents were removed and identified by optical and scanning electron microscopy. Our results confirmed that carnivory is the only feeding mode in aglajids and showed a sharp preference for vagile prey (94% of food items). We suggest that the interaction between crawling speed, presence of sensorial structures capable of detecting chemical signals from prey, and unique features of the digestive system (e.g. lack of radula, eversion of the buccal bulb, thickening of gizzard walls) led aglajid slugs to occupy a unique trophic niche among cephalaspideans, supporting the hypothesis that dietary specialization played a major role in the adaptive radiation of Cephalaspidea gastropods.