The Effects of Food Quality on the Growth and Life Cycle Patterns of Heteroplectron Americanum (Trichoptera)
Crusius, Martha C.
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Larvae of the caddisfly Heteroplectron americanum were fed different combinations of wood, periphyton, and leaves during a 75-day period. Those provided with leaves showed the greatest amount of growth, as measured by dry weight and head capsule width. Other larvae were placed in sterilized trays containing either leaves with reduced microbe populations or previously sterilized leaves which had been allowed to become colonized with bacteria and fungi. After 18 days larvae undergoing both treatments had lost weight and were in poor physiological condition. Clearly a longer period of interaction between leaves and microbes was necessary for the leaves to be able to support larval growth.