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Food preferences of Triopha maculata and Triopha carpenteri on the Monterey Peninsula, California.
Faculty and students of the Moss Landing Marine Laboratory, Moss Landing, California, have been conducting population studies of the dorid nudibranchs in the intertidal of the Monterey Peninsula, California, since 1969. Throughout the studies two closely related species, Triopha maculata MacFarland, 1905 and Triopha carpenteri (Stearns, 1873), were found to be dominant in abundance, making it a matter of some interest to determine how two such apparently similar species could coexist. If considerable competition occurred between the two species, how were such large populations maintained? If, on the other hand, no significant competition existed, how was it avoided.? As food is one of the key resources for which competition may occur (Emlen 1966) , the quantitative study was limited to the relative food preferences of the two species of Triopha, in order to assess the extent to which significant competition might exist for food resources.