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Spatial distribution of chironomid larvae (Diptera) on leaves of the bulrush in a chalk stream



Spatial distribution of chironomid larvae (Diptera) on leaves of the bulrush in a chalk stream



Journal of Animal Ecology 522: 421-437



Small samples of leaves of the bulrush, S. lacustris, were collected from a chalk stream from Jan. 1976 to Jan. 1977 and were used to determine the spatial distribution patterns of individuals, and the spatial profiles of mean density along the leaves, of the larval stages of 8 spp. of chironomid Cricotopus bicinctus, C. fuscus, C. sylvestris, Orthocladius sp., O. thienemanni, Paratanytarsus natvigi, Synorthocladius semivirens and Psectrocladius sordidellus . The mean density of 6 spp. increased distally and that of 2 spp. showed little variation along submerged sections of leaves. Intraspecific temporal differences in gradient in mean density along leaves were often more pronounced than interspecific differences at a given time. The density of the larvae of all species combined was influenced by the amount of detritus in many samples but not by interspecific interactions between chironomids or invertebrate predators. On leaves in a laboratory stream, characteristic patterns of longitudinal gradients in mean density were established within 2 h and were stable for up to 5 days. Larvae, whose species and instar could not be distinguished, moved towards the distal end of leaves with little epiphytic algae/detritus and moved towards the basal end of leaves with dense epiphytic material. Current speed had no effect on the patterns. The larvae were highly selective in their choice of a site and this resulted in specific patterns of individual spatial distribution which were density dependent. Taylor's and Iwao's spatial distribution models both fitted the field data. Eight species were aggregated except at very low densities; aggregation increased most rapidly with increasing density for C. bicinctus and C. fuscus, least rapidly for S. semivirens, and was independent of density of C. sylvestris.

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Accession: 018122840

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DOI: 10.2307/4563


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