The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Quantifying individual feeding variability: implications for mollusc feeding experiments

Hanley, M.E., Bulling, M.T. and Fenner, M. (2003) Quantifying individual feeding variability: implications for mollusc feeding experiments Functional Ecology, 17, (5), pp. 673-679. (doi:10.1046/j.1365-2435.2003.00779.x).

Record type: Article


1. In order to quantify the level of variability in seedling consumption displayed by individual molluscs, we placed one snail (Helix aspersa) in each of 51 trays containing (7-day-old) Taraxacum officinale seedlings for 7 days. 2. Initially, individual snails displayed considerable variability in their consumption of seedlings; however, this variability declined with time. The consumption of seedlings was not related to individual snail mass. 3. A second grazing experiment, using five different snail densities in similar experimental conditions to the first, showed that increasing snail number reduced variability within treatment groups. 4. A computer simulation, based on data from the first experiment correctly predicted the basic form of the decline in feeding variability with increasing snail density found in the second. Post hoc changes to the model, based on empirical analysis of the second experiment to account for mutual interference, reduced discrepancies between empirical and model results. 5. This study highlights the consequences that individual feeding behaviour has on feeding trials with molluscs, and provides a simple method by which this variability can be quantified and accommodated within experimental design.

PDF Hanley,_Bulling_et_al.pdf - Other
Restricted to Registered users only
Download (159kB)

More information

Submitted date: 14 February 2003
Published date: 29 September 2003
Keywords: feeding variability, Gini coefficient, Helix aspersa, seedling herbivory, slug-plant interactions, cepea-memoralis, deroceras-reticulatum, abutilon-theophrasti, seedling recruitment, arion lustianicus, palatability
Organisations: Biological Sciences


Local EPrints ID: 24019
ISSN: 0269-8463
PURE UUID: 8a8e2ca2-f4d4-445e-ba9b-9cb438bfe8bb

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 17 Mar 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 16:15

Export record



Author: M.E. Hanley
Author: M.T. Bulling
Author: M. Fenner

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.