, Volume 72, Issue 3, pp 473–478

Prey selection by a stonefly: the influence of hunger and prey size

  • M. C. MollesJr.
  • R. D. Pietruszka
Original Papers

DOI: 10.1007/BF00377582

Cite this article as:
Molles, M.C. & Pietruszka, R.D. Oecologia (1987) 72: 473. doi:10.1007/BF00377582


The influences of hunger and prey size on prey selection by the stonefly Hesperoperla pacifica (Perlidae) were explored in the laboratory by observing behavioral responses toward ten prey taxa and three nonprey taxa. Patterns of behavior were consistent with most assumptions and predictions of optimal foraging theory predicting sizebased prey selection by pursuing predators. Handling time appeared to increase as an exponential function of prey mass, and prey profitability (mg/s) was highest for small and intermediate-sized prey. Fasted stoneflies consumed a wide range of prey sizes, whereas well-fed stoneflies concentrated their attacks on intermediate-sized prey. Responses of H. pacifica to nonprey taxa, however, suggest that prey recognition and selection are not based on size alone.

Key words


Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. C. MollesJr.
    • 1
  • R. D. Pietruszka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyThe University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA