Oecologia

, Volume 57, Issue 1–2, pp 25–31 | Cite as

Mechanisms of prey selection by predaceous stoneflies: roles of prey morphology, behavior and predator hunger

  • Manuel C. MollesJr.
  • Robert D. Pietruszka
Original Papers

Summary

Laboratory feeding experiments using Hesperoperla pacifica (Banks), Perlidae, and Megarcys signata (Hagen), Perlodidae, as predators and Baetis tricaudatus Dodds and Ephemerella altana Allen as prey indicate a strong effect of prey morphology and mobility and predator hunger on prey selection by stoneflies. Knowledge of both dietary composition and feeding behavior was necessary to fully understand prey selection by these stoneflies.

Fasted stoneflies presented with live prey ate more E. altana while satiated stoneflies ate approximately equal numbers of the two mayfly species. This pattern of dietary composition was the result of a reduction of attack frequency on the slower swimming E. altana with predator satiation and a continued high attack rate on B. tricaudatus regardless of recent feeding history. In contrast, fasted H. pacifica fed fresh frozen mayflies ate more B. tricaudatus indicating the importance of differences in prey mobility in controlling dietary composition.

The high degree of similarity in patterns of feeding and mechanisms underlying those patterns for H. pacifica and M. signata suggest that they may be using similar “rules” for choosing mayfly prey and we suggest that mayfly prey are ranked by stoneflies on the basis of handling times. A general mechanistic model for stoneflies feeding on mayflies is presented and discussed.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manuel C. MollesJr.
    • 1
  • Robert D. Pietruszka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyThe University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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