The impact of waterborne cues from conspecifics and other species on the larvae of Halichondria panacea Pallas, 1766 (Porifera: Demospongiae)
Under laboratory conditions, we investigated byssus production in the blue mussel Mytilus edulis, as affected by the excretory-secretory products (ESPs) of the mussel itself and some marine invertebrates: the predatory starfish Asterias rubens, and organisms competing with mussels in White Sea fouling communities—a bivalve Hiatella arctica, the solitary ascidians Styela rustica and Molgula citrine, and a sponge Halichondria panicea. The number of attachment disks produced by a mussel per day and the thickness of byssal threads were estimated. Excretory-secretory products of H. arctica and M. citrine had no effect on the number of attachment disks, while ESPs of S. rustica, H. panacea and A. rubens stimulated mussels to produce attachment plaques. The activity of the mussel was slightly increased at low levels of its own ESPs in seawater. The thickness of byssal threads decreased with an increase in the ESPs of mussels in seawater, but it increased in experiments with the ESPs of any other species tested.