Three species of the fresh water carnivore hydra,H. littoralis, H. pseudoligactis, andC. viridissima present a graduation in size with the first species the largest and albinoChlorohydra the smallest. When presented with a daily overabundance of food (artemia), considerable variation in food intake and gross efficiency of growth (proportion of food energy consumed that is turned into new protoplasm or buds) existed among the species. The degree of association between size of species and food intake was highly significant. However, budding efficiency among the species was found to be independent of food intake (when the effects of species size were eliminated) and of species size (when the effects of food intake were removed). However, species with high (low) efficiencies have significantly higher (lower) reproductive rates.
A lowering of the temperature from 25° to 15° C. increased the size of the species, increased food intake, but decreased reproductive rate. In all species exceptH. pseudoligactis a corresponding increase in the production of bud energy with no change in efficiency also occurred. On the other hand, lowering of the temperature forH. pseudoligactis significantly lowered reproductive efficiency but had no effect on the total calorific output of buds. This species, in constrast to the others, appears to have a compensatory ability to adjust its efficiency to maintain a high calorific output when temperature increases.
It was also found that albinoChlorohydra have budding efficiencies of around 35 percent which are not influenced by changes in food intake or light. Normal green hydras, however, have efficiencies which range from 40 to 62 percent above their albino counterparts when fed once a day and once every two days in light respectively. It it concluded first, that the symbiotic algae in the gastrodermals cells of green hydra contribute quantitatively in the order of the above amounts to the growth process in this species, and second, that green hydras have the ablity to increase their growth efficiency when food intake is reduced thus reducing the drop in calorific but output that normally occurs in the albino (control) form.