Effects of artificial light at night and predator cues on foraging and predator avoidance in the keystone inshore mollusc Concholepas concholepas

Patricio H. Manríquez, María Elisa Jara, Claudio P. González, Mylene Seguel, Pedro A. Quijón, Stephen Widdicombe, José M. Pulgar, Diego Quintanilla-Ahumada, Cristobal Anguita, Cristian Duarte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The growth of Artificial Light At Night (ALAN) is potentially having widespread effects on terrestrial and coastal habitats. In this study we addressed both the individual effects of ALAN, as well as its combined effect with predation risk on the behaviour of Concholepas concholepas, a fishery resource and a keystone species in the southeastern Pacific coast. We measured the influence of ALAN and predation risk on this mollusc's feeding rate, use of refuge for light and crawling out of water behaviour. These behavioural responses were studied using light intensities that mimicked levels that had been recorded in coastal habitat exposed to ALAN. Cues were from two species known to prey on C. concholepas during its early ontogeny: the crab Acanthocyclus hassleri and the seastar Heliaster helianthus. The feeding rates of C. concholepas were 3–4 times higher in darkness and in the absence of predator cues. In contrast, ALAN-exposed C. concholepas showed lower feeding activity and were more likely to be in a refuge than those exposed to control conditions. In the presence of olfactory predator cues, and regardless of light treatment, C. concholepas tended to crawl-out of the waterline. We provide evidence to support the hypothesis that exposure to either ALAN or predation risk can alter the feeding behaviour of C. concholepas. However, predator cue recognition in C. concholepas was not affected by ALAN in situations where ALAN and predator cues were both present: C. concholepas continued to forage when predation risk was low, i.e., in darkness and away from predator cues. Whilst this response means that ALAN may not lead to increased predation mortality in C. concholepas, it will reduce feeding activity in this naturally nocturnal species in the absence of dark refugia. Such results may have implications for the long-term health, productivity and sustainability of this keystone species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116895
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Food acquisition
  • Light pollution
  • Predator cues
  • Refuge
  • Species interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of artificial light at night and predator cues on foraging and predator avoidance in the keystone inshore mollusc Concholepas concholepas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this