Lepetodrilus elevatus (McLean 1988)
Feeding Strategy: Grazing
Lepetodrilus elevatus, like many other limpets, are considered primary consumers (Gaudron et al., 2012) as they display many characteristics of a grazer (Goffredi et al., 2004). This is apparent through their possession of a radula that is similar in structure to many other grazing limpets and other members of the Lepetodrilus genus (McLean, 1988). Likewise, radula use has been identified in individuals by Bates (2007) who found that many showed radula wear which is characteristic of grazers. It is thought that they feed by scraping away a mixture of bacteria and decomposed matter away from the surface where it settles (Gaudron et al., 2012) – making it a detritivorous grazer.
L. elevatus is also thought to be able to employ suspension-feeding as a means to gain necessary nutrients from the surroundings (Bates, 2007; Gaudron et al., 2012). They are able to do this by possessing lamellae that expand to form pads which can then be used in this process to capture epibiotic bacteria (Fretter, 1988; Gaudron et al., 2012).
By employing both methods of feeding, L. elevatus is able to maximise its intake of nutrients, especially as the chemoautotrophic bacteria are not enough to sustain its diet (Gaudron et al.¸2012).
Bates, A.E. (2007) Feeding strategy, morphological specialisation and presence of bacterial episymbionts in lepetodrilid gastropods from hydrothermal vents. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 347, 87-99.
Fretter, V. (1988) New archaeogastropod limpets from hydrothermal vents; superfamily lepetodrilacea II. anatomy. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London.Series B, Biological Sciences, 319, 33-82.
Gaudron, S.M., Lefebvre, S., Jorge, A.N., Gaill, F. & Pradillon, F. (2012) Spatial and temporal variations in food web structure from newly-opened habitat at hydrothermal vents. Marine Environmental Research, 77, 129-140.
Goffredi, S.K., Waren, A., Orphan, V.J., Van Dover, C.L. & Vrijenhoek, R.C. (2004) Novel forms of structural integration between microbes and a hydrothermal vent gastropod from the indian ocean. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 70, 3082-3090.
Mclean, J.H. (1988) New archaeogastropod limpets from hydrothermal vents – superfamily lepetodrilacea .1. systematic descriptions. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences, 319, 1-&.