Behavior

Caenogastropod behavior can be characterized as feeding, fighting, fleeing, and mating, and most of these behaviors are primarily driven by chemoreception. Behavioral responses to visual cues are primarily limited to shadow responses and phototaxis, and because of the supposed lack of visual acuity, display behaviors are not known. However, salt marsh Littorina species have been shown to use vision to assess both shade intensity and shape orientation. In addition, in some Strom-bidae species, males sequester and guard females; fighting between males has been noted.

Like other gastropods that occur in the intertidal, caeno-gastropod activity and feeding behaviors vary with the tidal cycle: snails are inactive at low tide (except at night) and become active as the tide rises. In the subtidal, diurnal/nocturnal behaviors are important in avoiding predation; in the open ocean, vertical migrations of pteropods have been documented, with the snails moving to deeper water during daylight, but coming within 328 ft (100 m) of the surface at night. Migrations of upper and lower shore Littorina species have also been documented and may be associated with assortative mating.

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