Morphological Variation in the Shell of Strombus (Mollusca: Gastropoda) Across Several Local Habitats in Surigao del Sur, Southern Philippines

Fabio C. Ruaza, Danilo T. Dy


Shell characters are known to vary spatially in some mesogastropods. This study was conducted to determine the morphological shell variation of the Strombus across the several local habitats (muddy, sandy seagrass and corals) at Ganayon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur. Seven shell characters were measured in specimens of three commercially important species of Strombus namely: Canarium urceus, Canarium labiatus and Gibberulus gibbosus. Multidimensional scaling (MDS) was used to detect dissimilarities of conspecifics of the three Strombus species. Results showed that populations of the two Strombus species (C. labiatus and G. gibbosus) were clustered in the same quadrant regardless of habitat types. The C. urceus specimens collected in the sandy and muddy seagrass beds were located differently in the two dimensional plot, suggesting bigger disparity between conspecifics. The C. urceus collected in the muddy seagrass were clustered together with C. labiatus. On the other hand, G. gibbosus was separately grouped in another quadrant. Correlation analysis among shell characters also showed the biggest difference in the number of significant correlation coefficient (i.e., lip thickness vs. other shell characters) between conspecifics of C. urceus collected at the two local habitats. The lip thickness of C. urceus is evident, suggesting some degree of phenotypic plasticity, but not in the other two species. This study confirms that certain shell character (i.e., lip thickness) in C. urceus exhibited differences between
adjacent habitats (sandy seagrass vs. muddy seagrass beds).


C. urceus, C. labiatus, conspecifics, G. gibbosus, phenetics, shell morphometry

Full Text:



Abbott, R. (1960). The genus Strombus in the Indo-Pacific. Indo-Pacifica Mollusca, 1(2), 144.pp.

Boaden, P.J.S., O’ Connor, R.J. & Seed, R. (1975). The composition and zonation of a Fucus serratus (Linnaeus) community in Strangford Lough,

County Down. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 17 (2): 111–136. doi:10.1016/0022-0981(75)90026-X.

Boulding, E., Holst, M. & Pilon, V. (1999). Changes in selection on gastropod shell size and thickness with wave-exposure on Northeastern

Pacific shores. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 232 (2): 217–239. doi:10.1016/S0022-0981(98)00117-8.

Bourdeau, P.E., Butlin, R.K., Brönmark, C., Edgell,T.C., Hoverman, J.T. & Hollander, J. (2015). What can aquatic gastropods tell us about phenotypic plasticity? A review and metaanalysis. Heredity, 115(4): 312-321. doi:10.1038/hdy.2015.58.

Brusca, R. & Brusca G. (2003). Chapter 20: Phylum Mollusca. Invertebrates, 2nd edition. 22pp.

Buschbaum, C. & Reise, K. (1999). Effects of barnacle epibionts on the periwinkle Littorina littorea (L.). Helgoland MarineResearch, 53(1): 56–61. doi: 10.1007/PL00012138.

Ciasico, M.N.A., Villaluz, E.A., Geraldino, P.J.L., Dy, D.T. & Diola, A.G.(2006). Initial stock assessment of four Strombus species (Mollusca:

Gastropoda) in Eastern Samar (Central Philippines) with notes on their fishery. Philipp. Scient. 43: 52-68. doi: 10.3860/psci.v43i0.371.

Cob, Z., Bujang, J., Ghaffar, M. & Arshed, A. (2007). Diversity and population structure characteristics of Strombus (Mesogastropod, Strombidae) in Johor Straits. In. A. R. Sahibin, (eds.). Natural resource utilization and environmental preservation: issues and challenge. Proceeding of the 2nd Regional Symposium on Natural Environment and

Natural Resources, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia 2: 198-205.

Crothers J. (1970). The distribution of crabs on rocky shores around the Dale Peninsula. Field Studies, 3: 263–274.

Dewitt, T.J., Sih, A. & Hucko, J.A. (1999). Trait compensation and cospecialization in a freshwater snail: size, shape and antipredator behaviour. Animal Behaviour, 58(2) :397‐ 407. doi:10.1006/anbe.1999.1158.

Dittman, D. & Robles, C. (1991). Effect of algal epiphytes on the mussel Mytilus californianus. Ecology, 72(1): 286–296. doi: 10.2307/1938922.

Erlambang, T. & Siregar, Y.I. (1995). Ecological aspects and marketing of dog conch Strombus canarium Linne, 1758 at Bintan Island, Sumatra, Indonesia. Special Publication Phuket Marine Biology Centre, 15: 129- 131.

Hollander, J., Collyer, M.L., Adams, D.C. & Johannesson, K. (2006). Phenotypic plasticity in two marine snails: constraints superseding life history. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 19(6): 1861–1872. doi:10.1111/j.1420-9101.2006.01171.x.

Hoverman, J.T. & Relyea, R.A. (2016). Prey responses to fine-scale variation in predation risk from combined predators. Oikos, 125(2): 254–261. doi:10.1111/oik.02435.

Huet, M., Fioroni, P., Oehlmann, J. & Stroben, E. (1995). Comparison of imposex response in three prosobanchspecies. Hydrobiologia, 309 (1-3): 29-35. doi: 10.1007/BF00014469.

Kemp, P. & Bertness, M.D. (1984). Snail shape and growth rates: evidence for plastic shell allometry in Littorina littorea. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 81(3), 811–813.

Kitching, J.A., Muntz, L. & Ebling, F.J. (1966). The ecology of Lough Inc XV. The ecological significance of shell and body forms in Nucella. Journal of Animal Ecology, 35(1):113-126.

Lees, D.C., Houghton, J.P., Erickson, D.E., Driskell, W.B. & Boettcher, D.E. (1980). Ecological studies of intertidal and shallow subtidal habitats in Lower Cook Inlet. Final Report to NOAA OSCSEAP. 406pp.

Lin, J. & Zhang, D. (2001). Reproduction in a simultaneous hermaphroditic shrimp, Lysmata wurdemanni: Any two will do? Marine

Biology, 139(6):1155–1158. doi: 10.1007/s002270100679.

Palmer, A.R. (1990). Effect of crab effluent and scent of damaged conspecifics on feeding, growth, and shell morphology of the Atlantic dogwhelk Nucella lapillus (L). Hydrobiologia, 193 (1):155–182. doi:10.1007/BF00028074

Pfennig, D.W., Wund, M.A., Snell-Rood, E.C., Cruickshank, T., Schlichting, C.D. & Moczek,A.P. (2010). Phenotypic plasticity’s impacts on diversification and speciation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 25(8): 459–467. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2010.05.006

Poppe, G.T. (2008). Philippine marine mollusks, Volume 1: Gastropoda. Germany: Conchbooks. 758pp.

Poutiers, J. (1998). Gastropods. In: The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific.

FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. Edited by Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. p. 363-646.

Reimchen, T.E. (1982). Shell size divergence in Littorina mariae and Littorina obtusata and predation by crabs. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 60(4): 687–695. doi: 10.1139/z82-098.

Sanger, G. & Jones, R. (1984). Winter feeding ecology and trophic relationships of oldsquaws and white-winged scoters on Kachemak Bay, Alaska.In. Marine Birds: their feeding ecology and commercial fisheries relationships. Canadian Wildlife Service Special Publication D.N.

Nettleship, G.A. Sanger, and P.F. Springer ed(s). Canadian Wildlife Service. pp. 20-28.


  • There are currently no refbacks.