Feeding electivity of two epiphytic orthoclad chironomid species, Psectrocladius sp. and Thienemanniella cf. fusca, was investigated using gut content analysis of larvae collected from Typha stems in Lake Padgett, Florida. Electivity values, computed using Strauss's Food Selection Index, were strongly positive for Cosmarium and negative for Oedogonium and Bulbochaete. Diatoms either were avoided or grazed in proportion to their abundance in the environment. Patterns of electivity were similar for both chrionomid species during all seasons studied. Pairwise food preference experiments were conducted in the laboratory using the algal species, Cosmarium impressulum, Navicula pelliculosa, Selenastrum capricornuatum, Oedogonium cardiacum, and Synedra sp. Preferences were hierarchical and consistent for both larval genera. Preference ranking for the algae offered were Cosmarium≥Synedra>Navicula>Oedogonium>Selenastrum. Larvae seemed to be feeding electively based upon algal genus, size, position in the epiphytic community, and possibly extracellular chemistry.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics