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Food preference by five trichopteran scrapers


Becker,  Georg
Limnological River Station Schlitz, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Becker, G. (1994). Food preference by five trichopteran scrapers. Hydrobiologia, 273(3), 171-178.

Feeding selectivity by five epilithic, case-building trichopteran species from a first-order stream was examined using laboratory experiments. Larvae had the choice of three food types: periphyton and detritus from the stream, and nettle broth as an 'artificial' food source. Food type influenced the microdistribution of these species. Larvae were able to distinguish between different food types and showed species-specific responses to the various types of food. Drusus annulatus, Micrasema longulum and Apatania fimbriata favoured periphyton, while Agapetus fuscipes and Silo pallipes showed no preference for periphyton over detritus. Four of the five species examined (Apatania fimbriata was the exception) tended to avoid nettle broth. The complexity of foraging behaviour was illustrated by M. longulum. Given a choice between detritus, periphyton and periphyton with the addition of moss, they clearly preferred the latter food type, scraping mostly on the epiphytic algae. Proportions of a given species selecting periphyton were correlated with percentage areas of algae in the gut contents of that species in the field. D. annulatus, M. longulum and A. fimbriata showed the greatest preference for periphyton, and consumed the highest proportions of algae in the field. A. fuscipes and S. pallipes often selected detritus, and these species had the lowest proportions of algae, and the highest proportions of detritus, in their guts.