Brightly coloured tissues in limid bivalves chemically deter predators. Journal Article uri icon



  • Members of the marine bivalve family Limidae are known for their bright appearance. In this study, their colourful tissues were examined as a defence mechanism towards predators. We showed that when attacked by the peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus), the 'disco' clam, Ctenoides ales, opened wide to expose brightly coloured tissues to the predator. The predator also significantly preferred to consume the internal, non-colourful clam tissues than the external, colourful tissues. Mass spectrometry-based metabolomic analysis confirmed that colourful tissues had significantly different chemical compositions than the non-colourful ones. The internal, non-colourful tissues had metabolite profiles more similar to an outgroup bivalve than to the species' own colourful external tissues. A number of the compounds that differentiated the colourful tissues from the non-colourful tissues appeared to be peptide-like, which potentially serve as the underlying defensive compounds. This is the first study demonstrating that colourful bivalve tissues are used for chemical defence.

publication date

  • October 1, 2019

Full Author List

  • Dougherty LF; Niebergall AK; Broeckling CD; Schauer KL; Li J

Other Profiles

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 191298


  • 6


  • 10