Food limitation and body size in the life cycles of planktonic rotifers and cladocerans

  • Annie Duncan
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 52)


This review considers what is known about the effects of food limitation upon the life cycle characteristics of rotifers and planktonic cladocerans. The characteristics considered in rotifers are the size of eggs, juveniles and adults and the durations of the juvenile phase and period of egg production. In cladocerans, the life history features dealt with are their length-weight relationships, the body size, instar stage, age and fecundity of the primiparous female and their fecundity-adult size relationship. The influence of limiting food conditions is demonstrated for these characteristics by comparison with the situation in non-limiting circumstances; the comparison is confined to experiments where food concentrations are quantified. A direct comparison is made between rotifers and cladocerans in conditions of defined food resource availability in terms of their length-weight relationships, the daily allocation of adults or near-adults to growth and reproduction and their threshold food concentrations. These comparisons are discussed in relation to the following topics: the high cost of cumulated respiration resulting from prolongation of the juvenile phase of body growth; the fundamentally different nature of growth in the two taxonomic groups; the body size of species and the size that must be attained for reproduction; the ecological implications of the very different threshold food concentrations.

Key words

food limitation body size duration of development fecundity life cycle studies rotifers cladocerans 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annie Duncan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Royal Holloway & Bedford New CollegeUniversity of LondonEgham SurreyUK

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