, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 17-19

Feeding studies on Onychiurus arcticus (Tullberg) (Collembola: Onychiuridae) on West Spitsbergen

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The feeding biology of the arctic collembolan Onychiurus arcticus (Tullberg) is described from West Spitsbergen, based on a combination of gut content analyses for field collected and microcosm-living animals, together with laboratory feeding trials. There was wide variation in the food items consumed by individual animals, reflecting the wide choice available in the environment. Most animals fed predominantly on living and dead bryophytes, detritus and to a lesser extent algal cells. Laboratory trials showed that O. arcticus feeds as a herbivore on a range of bryophyte species. The presence of dense aggregations below bird cliffs and elsewhere may reflect the distribution of particularly favourable microenvironments.