Hopkins Marine Station Student Paper

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(full paper is archived in the Miller Library)

Title: Inking behavior in Aplysia californica
Student Author(s): Sewell, Amy Tamsyn
Faculty Advisor(s): Wagenbach, Gary
Pages: 10
Location: Research Reports Carleton College Biology 212
Date: November 1983
Abstract: Aplysia californica has evolved an inking reaction to noxious stimuli. There are two theories of its function emphasized in the literature. The first suggests the ink may be a defensive screen similar to cephalopods. This is unlikely because the ink is not sufficiently dense to hide the animals. The second compares the inking to noxious secretions of other opisthobranchs (Kandel 1979). Predation on the adult Aplysias is very low due to the toxic material in the digestive gland (Winkler 1961). A known predator on small Aplysias, Anthopleura xanthogrammica, retracts its tentacles when it contacts the ink. The higher instance of inking when sea hares are in aggregations may suggest that the ink deters predators from the eggs. Feeding tests suggest that hungry Patiria miniata injest the eggs. P. miniata show adverse responses to the ink.