The recent invasion of a naticid predator (Laguncula pulchella) and associated changes in the death assemblages of bivalve prey (Ruditapes philippinarum) provide a baseline for interpreting predator-prey interactions in the fossil record. This article presents quantitative data on size-frequency distributions (SFDs) of living and death assemblages, prey size selectivity and drillhole site selectivity from the Tona Coast, northern Japan. Before the appearance of the predator, the SFD of the death assemblage exhibited a right-skewed platykurtic distribution, and there were very few predatory drillholes. Once the predator appeared, frequencies of predatory drillholes increased, particularly in the smallest size class (2-10 mm shell length). Furthermore, juvenile peaks in the SFDs of death assemblages sharpened, and thus, SFDs exhibited strongly right-skewed leptokurtic distributions. These changes suggest that intense naticid predation precluded juvenile clams from growing to adulthood, and thus, many dead shells of juvenile clams were introduced into the sediment. The changes in SFDs may also indicate intensification of predation pressure in the fossil record. No temporal shifts in prey size selectivity and drillhole site selectivity were noted, despite substantial changes in the demographics of Ruditapes philippinarum. This suggests that lack of specific size classes of preferred prey species is unlikely to be a primary factor accounting for size mismatches between predator and prey, because, in such situations, naticid predators probably attack other prey species. Therefore, such a factor is unlikely to primarily explain the less stereotypical predatory behaviour (i.e. low prey size selectivity and low drillhole site selectivity), which has been frequently recognized in fossil assemblages. Such less stereotypical predatory behaviour in fossil assemblages is likely to be explained by other factors, such as the existence of multiple predator taxa and lack of specific size classes of all available prey.
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