Skip to main content
Log in

Characteristics of invertebrates consumed by mallards and prey response to wetland flooding schedules

  • Published:
Wetlands Aims and scope Submit manuscript


We examined characteristics of the invertebrates consumed by mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and green-winged teals (Anas crecca) and responses of these invertebrates to manipulations of flooding date in Suisun Marsh, Solano County, CA. Numbers ofChironomus stigmaterus midge larvae (Chironomidae) andEogammarus confervicolus amphipods (Gammaridae) in mallard esophageal samples were positively correlated with abundance of these invertebrates in wetlands. Mallards primarily consumed large midge larvae (fourth instars) and amphipods (>5 mm in length). Smaller green-winged teals consumed smaller midges. Mallards consumed fewTrichocorixa verticalis water boatmen (Corixidae) orCricotopus sylvestris midge larvae, despite their being abundant. Wetlands first flooded in early September had higher winter populations of amphipods andBerosus ingeminatus beetle larvae (Hydrophilidae) than wetlands first flooded in late October. Late-winter abundance of benthicC. stigmaterus midge larvae was highest at 40-cm water depths in the former habitats and at 20-cm depths in the latter habitats.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Literature Cited

  • Batzer, D. P. and V. H. Resh. 1992. Macroinvertebrates of a California seasonal wetland and responses to experimental habitat manipulation. Wetlands 12:1–7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Connelly D. P. and D. L. Chesemore. 1980. Food habits of pintails,Anas acuta, wintering on seasonally flooded wetlands in the northern San Joaquin Valley, California. California Fish and Game 66: 233–237.

    Google Scholar 

  • Euliss N. H., Jr., R. L. Jarvis, and D. S. Gilmer. 1991. Feeding ecology of waterfowl wintering on evaporation ponds in California. Condor 93:582–590.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Euliss, N. H., Jr., and G. Grodhaus. 1987. Management of midges and other invertebrates for waterfowl wintering in California. California Fish and Game 73:238–243.

    Google Scholar 

  • Euliss, N. H., Jr. and S. W. Harris. 1987. Feeding ecology of northern pintails and green-winged teal wintering in California. Journal of Wildlife Management 51:724–732.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Garcia, R., K. S. Hagen, and W. G. Voigt 1990. Life history, termination of summer diapause, and other seasonal adaptations ofAgabus disintegratus (Crotch) (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae) in the Central Valley of California. Quaestiones Entomologicae 26:139–149.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heitmeyer, M. E., D. P. Connelly and R. L. Pederson. 1989. the Central, Imperial, and Coachella Valleys of California. p. 475–505.In L. M. Smith, R. L. Pederson, and R. M. Kaminski (eds.) Habitat Management for Migrating and Wintering Waterfowl in North America. Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock, TX, USA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heitmeyer, M. E. and L. H. Fredrickson. 1981. Do wetland conditions in the Mississippi Delta hardwoods influence mallard recruitment? Transactions of the North American Wildlife Natural Resources Conference 46:44–57.

    Google Scholar 

  • Johnson, D. H. 1980. The comparison of usage and availability measurements for evaluating resource preference. Ecology 61:65–71.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kirk, R. E. 1982. Experimental design. Second edition. Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA, USA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Krapu, G. L. 1981. The role of nutrient reserves in mallard reproduction. Auk 98:29–38.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mall, R. E. 1969. Soil-water-salt relationships of waterfowl food plants in the Suisun Marsh of California. California Department of Fish and Game, Wildlife Bulletin 1, Sacramento, CA, USA.

    Google Scholar 

  • McLachlan, A. J. 1970. Some effects of annual fluctuations in water level on the chironomid communities of Lake Kariba. Journal of Animal Ecology 45:105–13.

    Google Scholar 

  • Merritt, R. W. and K. W. Cummins (eds.) 1984 An Introduction to the Aquatic Insects of North America. Second edition. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., Dubuque, IA, USA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Miller, M. R. 1987. Fall and winter foods of northern pintails in the Sacramento Valley. California. Journal of Wildlife Management 51:405–414.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Murkin, H. R. and B. D. J. Batt. 1987. The interactions of vertebrates and invertebrates in peatlands and marshes. Memoires of the Entomological Society of Canada 140:15–30.

    Google Scholar 

  • Murkin, H. R. and J. A. Kadlec. 1986. Relationships between waterfowl and macroinvertebrate densities in a northern prairie marsh. Journal of Wildlife Management 50:212–217.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nudds, T. D. and J. M. Bowlby. 1984. Predator-prey size relationships in North American dabbling ducks. Canadian Journal of Zoology 62:2002–2008.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pennak, R. W. 1989. Fresh-water Invertebrates of the United States. 3rd edition. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY, USA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Polhemus, J. T. 1984. Aquatic and semiaquatic Hemiptera. p. 231–260.In R. W. Merritt and K. W. Cummins (eds) Aquatic Insects of North America. 2nd edition. Kendall/Hunt. Dubuque, IA, USA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rollins, G. L. 1981. A guide to waterfowl habitat management in Suisun Marsh. California Department of Fish and Game Publication. Sacramento, CA, USA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Swanson, G. A. 1978. A water column sampler for invertebrates in shallow wetlands. Journal of Wildlife Management 42:670–671.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Swanson, G. A. and J. C. Bartonek. 1970. Bias associated with food analysis in gizzards of blue-winged teal. Journal of Wildlife Management 34:739–746.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Swanson, G. A. and M. I. Meyer. 1973. The role of invertebrates in the feeding ecology of Anatinae during the breeding season. p. 143–185.In Waterfowl habitat management symposium, Moneton, New Brunswick, Canada.

  • Swanson, G. A., G. L. Krapu, J. C. Bartonek, J. R. Serie, and D. H. Johnson. 1974b. Advantages in mathematically weighting waterfowl food habits data. Journal of Wildlife Management 38:302–307.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Swanson, G. A., M. I. Meyer, and J. R. Serie. 1974a. Feeding ecology of breeding blue-winged teals. Journal of Wildlife Management 38:396–407.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Swanson, G. A., G. L. Krapu, and J. R. Series. 1979. Food of laying female dabbling ducks on the breeding grounds. p. 47–55In T. A. Bookhout (ed). Waterfowl and wetlands-an integrated review. Proceedings of the 1977 symposium. Madison, WI. Wildlife Society, Washington, DC, USA.

  • Walker, E. D. and W. J. Crans. 1986. A simple method for samplingCoquillettidia perturbans larvae. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 2:239–240.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Additional information

Reprint requests should be sent to V.H. Resh.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Batzer, D.P., McGee, M., Resh, V.H. et al. Characteristics of invertebrates consumed by mallards and prey response to wetland flooding schedules. Wetlands 13, 41–49 (1993).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key Words