Effects of Microhabitat Selection on Feeding Rates of Net-Spinning Caddisfly Larvae
Thorp, James H.
Ecological Society of America
Scholarly/refereed, publisher version
Copyright by the Ecological Society of America
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Net-spinning caddisfly larvae of the family Hydropsychidae are known to prefer microhabitats with large, stable substrate and high water flow velocity. It is often assumed that net spinners in high-velocity microhabitats have higher feeding or growth rates than larvae in less preferred sites, but there is no direct evidence to support this assumption. We hypothesized that net-spinning caddisflies would select microhabitats that offered the greatest feeding rates. This hypothesis was tested by field experiments in which we determined if net-spinning caddisfly larvae preferred high-velocity sites even when substrate size and type were held constant. We then measured feeding rates of net spinners in microhabitats with different flow characteristics. High-flow positions were selected by 96% of hydropsychid larvae colonizing artificial moss substrates. Artemia nauplii released into the water column were captured by individual larvae in high-flow sites at a rate of 0.016%/m, significantly higher than the capture rate in low-flow sites. Combining this rate of prey capture with mean hydropsychid densities of 1125 individuals/m2, we estimate that hydropsychid larvae in riffles remove drifting invertebrate prey at a rate of «18%/m. Assuming exponential prey removal, a prey item in the drift would travel an average of only 5.5 m before being consumed. This study is one of the first to show that the distribution of a stream filter feeder is related to the feeding rates obtainable in different microhabitats.
Georgian, Ted; Thorp, James H. (1992). "Effects of Microhabitat Selection on Feeding Rates of Net-Spinning Caddisfly Larvae." Ecology, 73(1):229-240. http://www.dx.doi.org/10.2307/1938734.
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