Importance of fungi in the diet of Gammarus pulex and Asellus aquaticus
- Cite this article as:
- Graça, M.A.S., Maltby, L. & Calow, P. Oecologia (1993) 96: 304. doi:10.1007/BF00317498
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An important component of the interaction between macroinvertebrates and leaf litter in streams in the extent to which consumers can differentiate between undecomposed and decomposing leaves. The detritivores Gammarus pulex and Asellus aquaticus fed preferentially on conditioned rather on unconditioned leaf material. Growth in A. aquaticus was significantly reduced when unconditioned leaves were provided, but in G. pulex no significant effect of conditioning on growth was observed. The capacity of G. pulex to tolerate reductions in food quality seems to be a consequence of a compensatory system in which respiration rates change to compensate for reductions in food quality. In this way a constant growth rate is maintained. Increases in ingestion rates to compensate for low quality food were not observed.