The Behavioral Ecology of Filter-Feeding Black Fly Larvae: Time-Activity Budgets and Determinants of Territoriality
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A major concern of an animal's general ecology is the manner in which it partitions its time between various behaviors. Black fly larvae (Diptera: Simuliidae) serve as efficient models, because their life cycle is characterized by an energy gathering larval stage that is separate in morphology and habitat from the reproductive adult stage. Therefore, it is possible to investigate the function of feeding behavior independently of reproductive behavior. This study assesses the time larvae spend in various activities, and looks at the role of aggression in larval territorial behavior. It was discovered that larvae spend the majority of their time actively filtering, which is relatively insensitive to changes in food availability. However, changes in the amount of time involved in aggressive behavior was found to be closely related to food. In addition, it was discovered that the frequency of aggression was maximal at intermediale larval densities.