CLAM-DIGGING BEHAVIOR IN THE STARFISH, PISASTER BREVISPINUS (STIMPSON 1857) by LYNWOOD S. SMITH (Olympic Junior College, Bremerton, Washington) (Rec. 20-XII-1960) In the course of underwater observation in Puget Sound made near Bremerton, Washington, Pisaster brevispinus was noted in shallow, but definite depressions. Inspection of the starfish showed them often to be feeding on bivalves or resting on empty bivalve shells. The hypothesis that these starfish dig bivalves from the gravelly substrate seemed worth pur- suing and the following observations are recorded in support of that view. The holes in which the Pisaster brevispinus were found were shaped like shallow bowls, up to 70 cm. in diameter and 10 cm. deep at the center. While there was some tendency for the excavated material to be deposited uniformly around the rim of the hole, some holes had several distinct piles of gravel under the tips of several rays. The tips of the rays of the starfish typically reached to the rim of the hole except that the smaller starfish (less than about 25 cm. in diameter) were not observed in holes. The clamshells com- monly found in the holes were Saxidomus and Protothaca. The depths at which P. brevispinus were
Behaviour – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1961
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