Drilling predation is frequently studied in the fossil record. Less information is available from recent environments, however. Previous studies have indicated that drilling predation is usually higher in the tropics but little research has been undertaken in high latitudes. To address this hypothesis, we examine muricid-drilling predation along a 1,000 km transect in southern South America. Drilling frequencies ranged between 3% and 36%, and they were not correlated with the abundance of the predator (Trophon geversianus) or the abundance of its preferred prey. The only locality with exceptionally high predation (36%) was a heavily anthropogenically impacted site. Trophon exhibited different drilling strategies on different prey, and edge drilling represented 27%–56% of the drill holes in mytilids. Drilling frequencies were not correlated with latitude or water temperature. Our results, however, show that drilling frequencies are indeed lower at high latitudes compared to the tropics, and these data provide a recent baseline to compare and interpret spatial variability in muricid drilling predation from past environments. The fact that dead-shell assemblages seem to be recording human-related impacts in this system strengthens their relevance as potentially valuable conservation tools.

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