Paper No. 130-3
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
TAXONOMIC DIFFERENTIATION OF PREFERRED PREY ITEMS IN THE INDO-PACIFIC PERSISTENT HOTSPOT OF BIODIVERSITY
Venerid bivalves are, and have been through geologic time, a substantial component of the naticid gastropod diet in many parts of the world. As such, these shell-drilling predators leave traces of their feeding behavior in the fossil record. In this poster, I demonstrate the range of venerid prey items in terms of their overall morphologic variation as well as the distribution of shell forms that seem to be preferred by naticid predators. While geometric morphometrics contribute an analytical means to demonstrate a range of shape and form within this highly variable family, spatial and temporal variability do not confound an apparent trend that shell shape, and associated life-habits, are good indicators of which taxa shell-drilling predators are likely to seek as the target of their next meal.
Additionally, this project aims to delineate the utility of geometric morphometrics for use as a taxonomic discriminant. Ranges of morphologic variation within known species designations are hereby compared to morphospecies determinations. Morphospecies designations align moderately well with a priori taxonomic determinations but further evaluation of specific determinations due to clear discrimination of morphospecies warrants further evaluation for the potential description of novel taxa.