Distribution and feeding of larval Chironomidae in a gravel-pit lake.

Author Titmus, G. & Badcock, R.M.
Citation Titmus, G. & Badcock, R.M. (1981). Distribution and feeding of larval Chironomidae in a gravel-pit lake. Freshwater Biology, 11: 263-271.


Replicated benthic samples were collected from a wet gravel-pit in the English Midlands at fortnightly intervals during 1978. The aggregation patterns of the four most numerous genera, Chironomus, Polypedilum, Procladius and Tanypus, were analysed by fitting the means and variances of replicated sampling units to Taylor's power law and Iwao's plot of mean crowding against mean density. Chironomus larvae were not aggregated; all other genera showed an increased aggregation with density. The Iwao plots indicated that Tanypus larvae tended to be aggregated at low as well as high densities. Gut contents were analysed in larvae of the above genera and also in Cryptochironomus larvae, to investigate the relationship between dispersion pattern and feeding. Chironomus and Polypedilum larvae fed mainly on detritus, Tanypus on algae, Procladius on algae and crustacea and Cryptochironomus on oligochaetes. The extent of overlap in feeding niche was measured by Levins’ index and shown to be low in all except the pair feeding upon detritus. Differences in the feeding niche may partly account for the dispersion patterns of the genera investigated.

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