Here we investigate if predation by the European green crab (Carcinus maenas) differs between two congeneric snails in the northwest Atlantic (Littorina littorea and L. obtusata), and ask if differential predation can help explain the geography of claw and shell forms among geographically separated populations. First, correlations between crusher-claw size and shell mass—tested across a wide size range of animals—were highly significant among populations of C. maenas and L. obtusata, whereas only a small number of significant correlations were found between C. maenas and L. littorea, and these were limited to the smaller size classes of snails and crabs. Moreover, among populations, L. obtusata shells were more frequently scarred than those of L. littorea, and L. obtusata were attacked and killed more frequently than L. littorea during field- and laboratory-predation experiments. Combined, results suggest L. obtusata is currently under greater selection by C. maenas than L. littorea for more crab-resistant shell forms. One possible explanation for these patterns is that L. littorea may have interacted with green crabs for centuries (in Europe) prior to their reintroduction to green crabs in America, thus predator-resistance may had already evolved.
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Vol. 62 • No. 5