, Volume 150, Issue 3, pp 243–255 | Cite as

Feeding ecology of three predacious aquatic insects and two fish in a riffle of the Speed River, Ontario

  • Randall L. Fuller
  • H. B. N. Hynes


The food habits of two fish (Etheostoma flabellare and Rhinichthys atratulus) and three predacious aquatic insects (Nigronia serricornis, Paragnetina media and Agnetina capitata) were examined for one year in a riffle of the Speed River, Ontario. Adult E. flabellare fed primarily on net-spinning caddisflies whereas juvenile E. flabellare relied heavily on chironomids. Rhinichthys atratulus had a more varied diet composed of chironomids, Antocha larvae (Tipulidae) and net-spinning caddisflies. Two of the aquatic insect predators consumed large numbers of net-spinning caddisflies; however, P. media contained large percentages of Hydropsyche and Cheumatopsyche whereas N. serricornis fed primarily on non-hydropsychid net-spinners. The diet of A. capitata was composed largely of chironomids and mayflies. Schoener's diet overlap index (α) suggested that large E. flabellare and P. media had similar diets; however, E. flabellare ingested much larger prey than P. media. Adult E. flabellare contained a significantly greater proportion of larger prey items in comparison with benthic samples whereas similar comparisons with other predators showed no selection for larger prey. These data demonstrate that E. flabellare was size selective given the range of prey sizes available whereas the other predators were not. Also, there was little dietary overlap among the fish and invertebrate predators suggesting a partitioning of resources.

Key words

aquatic insect predators Plecoptera Megaloptera Etheostoma flabellare Rhinichthys atratulus predator-prey relations resource partitioning 


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Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Randall L. Fuller
    • 1
  • H. B. N. Hynes
    • 2
  1. 1.Biology DepartmentColgate UniversityHamiltonUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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