, Volume 68, Issue 1, pp 63-68

Influence of fungi on growth and survival of Onychiurus armatus (Collembola) in a metal polluted soil

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The influence of food quantity and quality on growth and survival of Onychiurus armatus (Tullb.) in metal polluted environments has been investigated in laboratory experiments. The Collembola was reared on five species of fungi isolated from a metal polluted soil close to a brass mill in SE Sweden.

Survival of O. armatus was improved when fungal biomass was continuously added in a polluted mor (1,300 ppm Zn and 200 ppm Cu), and when specimens were fed metal polluted fungi for 1, 3 and 7 days a week, only those that were starved had increased mortality. Allometric growth, on the other hand, was significantly reduced when Collembola was given surplus of metal polluted fungi, whereas growth losses caused by metals were offset by protein rich food. Hence, sufficient food quantities alone could overcome mortality losses but not growth retardation in a metal polluted environment.

Feeding preference of O. armatus was not determined by the protein content of the fungi although this was beneficial for growth. Metals changed the relative palatability of fungal species, but one of the metal tolerant species, Paecilomyces farinosus, which was also protein rich, remained reasonably attractive for O. armatus also when it was metal polluted. The mechanisms by which growth and survival of O. armatus were promoted by a combination of protein and Zn/Cu rich fungi seemed to be crucial in understanding the fate of a population of this species in a metal polluted soil.