We targeted a number of marine gastropod taxa that utilize a variety of feeding behaviors, including grazing, filter feeding and predation to attempt identification of specialized feeding modes from shell morphology, particularly shell-wedging behavior in which predators force open their bivalve prey using the convex edge of their apertural lip - a behavior that does not always leave a trace fossil record. Results from the eigenshape analysis of apertural lip shape variation suggest extant predatory taxa using this behavior (e.g. Busycon, Fasciolaria, Buccinum) occupy a distinct region of morphospace compared with species known to exploit other feeding behaviors. This association between feeding mode and shell morphology in extant shell-wedging taxa permits a more accurate identification of the behavior in extinct taxa, supplementing analysis of the trace fossil record. This is particularly important because shell-wedging is hypothesized to have evolved independently multiple times to improve competitive performance. If corroborated, such repeated evolution would permit a comparative approach to ask where, when and under what circumstances innovations, such as the convex lip, are acquired and secondarily lost.
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