, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 139–144 | Cite as

Importance of fungi in the diet of Gammarus pulex and Asellus aquaticus I: feeding strategies

  • M. A. S. Graça
  • L. Maltby
  • P. Calow
Original Papers


The importance of fungi in the trophic biology of the freshwater detritivores Gammarus pulex and Asellus aquaticus was investigated. Inspection of leaves used in feeding trials indicated that whereas A. aquaticus scrapes at the leaf surface, G. pulex bites through the leaf material. Both species discriminated between fungal mycelia, fungally colonized and uncolonized leaf material but, although A. aquaticus selectively consumed fungal mycelia, G. pulex fed preferentially on leaf material. Fungi appear to be an important food source for A. aquaticus and selection of food material was positively correlated with fungal biomass. In contrast, for G. pulex, fungi appear to be more important as modifiers of leaf material. However, no significant correlations were found between food preference and any of the leaf modifications measured.

Key words

Detritivores Trophic biology Gammarus pulex Asellus aquaticus Food choices Niche breadth 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. A. S. Graça
    • 1
  • L. Maltby
    • 2
  • P. Calow
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de ZoologiaUniversidade de CoimbraCoimbra CodexPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Animal and Plant SciencesUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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