DO PREDATORY BOREHOLES SIGNIFICANTLY WEAKEN SHELLS: DATA FROM MODERN AND FOSSIL BIVALVES FROM FLORIDA
We used a total of 129 whole valves of Spisula raveneli (Conrad, 1832) collected from the high tide strandline on the west coast of Egmont Key, Florida. The specimens were sorted by size and then split into three samples with the same size distributions. Each sample was rolled in a rock tumbler with water and three small pebbles for 5-hour intervals. After each 5-hour interval, the specimens were dried and those that were still either whole or fragments that had an intact hinge were weighed and examined for breakage. The specimens were then returned to the tumbler along with all of the broken detritus and rolled for another 5-hour period. At the end of a hundred hours of tumbling, the remains were examined to determine if any recognizable bore holes were preserved in the fragments.
Mann-Whitney U analysis was used to determine if the bored valves broke more quickly, and thus were less durable, than valves lacking bore holes. Drilling frequency values were determined for the pristine and rock tumbled specimens (e.g., at 20 hours, 40 hours, etc.) and those values will then be compared.