Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 296–298 | Cite as

The diet and food preferences of Onychiurus procampatus (Collembola) from upland grassland soils

  • R. D. Bardgett
  • J. B. Whittaker
  • J. C. Frankland


Specimens of Onychiurus procampatus (Collembola) observed grazing on fungal mycelia were collected from the surface soil of three differently manged upland grasslands. A general trend of an increasing proportion of Collembola with a full gut was found along a gradient of reduced sheep management intensity, which was correlated with increased fungal biomass. In the laboratory, this collembolan showed a consistent order of preference for the mycelium of seven common fungal species isolated from the field sites.

Key words

Collembola Food preferences Grassland Fungi Gut contents 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson JM, Healey IN (1972) Seasonal and interspecific variation in major components of the gut contents of some woodland Collembola. J Anim Ecol 41:359–368Google Scholar
  2. Bardgett RD, Frankland JC, Whittaker JB (1993) The effects of agricultural management on the soil biota of some upland grasslands. Agric Ecosyst Environ 45:25–45Google Scholar
  3. De With ND, Joose ENG (1971) The ecological effects of moulting in Collembola. Rev Ecol Biol Sol 8:111–117Google Scholar
  4. Healey IN (1965) Studies on the production biology of soil Collembola, with special reference to a species of Onychiurus. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of WalesGoogle Scholar
  5. Leonard MA (1984) Observations on the influence of culture conditions of the fungal feeding preferences of Folsomia candida (Collembola: Isotomidae). Pedobiologia 26:361–367Google Scholar
  6. McMillan JH (1975) Interspecific and seasonal analyses of the gut contents of three Collembola (Family Onychiuridae). Rev Ecol Biol Sol 12:449–457Google Scholar
  7. Newell K (1984) Interaction between two decomposer basidiomycets and Collembola under Sitka spruce: Distribution abundance and selective grazing. Soil Biol Biochem 16:227–234Google Scholar
  8. Shaw PJA (1988) A consistent hierarchy in the fungal feeding preferences of the Collembola Onychiurus armatus. Pedobiologia 31:179–187Google Scholar
  9. Visser S, Whittaker JB (1977) Feeding preferences for certain litter fungi by Onychiurus subtenuis (Collembola). Oikos 29:320–325Google Scholar
  10. Walsh MI, Bolger T (1990) Effects of diet on the growth and reproduction of some Collembola in laboratory cultures. Pedobiologia 34:161–171Google Scholar
  11. Whittaker JB (1981) Feeding of Onychiurus subtenuis (Collembola) at snowmelt in aspen litter in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Oikos 36:203–206Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. D. Bardgett
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. B. Whittaker
    • 1
  • J. C. Frankland
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Division of Biological SciencesUniversity of LancasterLancasterUK
  2. 2.Institute of Terrestrial EcologyMerlewood Research StationGrange-over-SandsUK

Personalised recommendations