Hydrobiologia

, Volume 210, Issue 3, pp 233–242 | Cite as

The diatoms ingested by freshwater snails: temporal, spatial, and interspecific variation

  • Robert T. DillonJr.
  • Kevin B. Davis
Article

Abstract

Seventeen species of diatoms, representing a broad range of sizes, shapes, and growth habits, were collected from rocks in rapidly-flowing sections of the Mitchell River, North Carolina. The diatoms ingested by adult Goniobasis proxima, juvenile Leptoxis carinata, and adult Physa sp. co-occurring in this habitat were indistinguishable from one another, in spite of great differences in radular morphology. All snails sampled the diatom flora almost randomly, with only one or two of the larger diatom species under-represented in the gut contents. Some snails also seemed to selectively ingest the smaller individuals of the larger diatom taxa, and larger individuals of the smaller diatom taxa. The diatoms identifiable in juvenile Goniobasis guts were somewhat more distinctive, although this seemed to be due at least partly to more mechanical breakage. The diatom flora of quiet, muddy pools was much different from that of shallow, rocky areas, but once again, Goniobasis seemed to sample the available flora randomly. Seasonal variation was also apparent in the diatom diet of Goniobasis. We suggest that in some cases, it may be reasonable to use snails to sample the diatom assemblage present in a particular habitat, if more direct methods are impractical.

Key words

diatoms grazing freshwater snails radula periphyton 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert T. DillonJr.
    • 1
  • Kevin B. Davis
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyCollege of CharlestonCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.South Carolina Marine Resources Research InstituteCharlestonUSA

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