Competition in caddis larvae
Abstract: This thesis deals with behavioural strategies used by caddis larvae in pairwise contests and when selecting microhabitats. Effects of caddis larvae on survival and habitat selection of other insect taxa have also been studied.The behaviours used by Arctopsyche ladogensis larvae fighting for nets, and Agrypnia pagetana larvae fighting for cases, agreed well with predictions from the sequential assessment game, which is an ESS model of animal fighting behaviour.Establishment by net-spinning Hydropsyche siltalai larvae on artificial substrates was highest at intermediate densities of residents. Emigration/mortality was density independent, and it was higher at a poor site (low food availability) than at a rich site. Establishment was unaffected by site quality. Growth was density dependent because larvae in upstream positions reduced both current velocity and concentration of food particles for larvae in downstream positions.A field experiment involved manipulations of the density of H. siltalai larvae and their nets in a lake outlet stream. H. siltalai larvae affected all abundant taxa, but the mechanism involved varied between taxa. Rhyacophila nubila (Trichoptera) and chironomid larvae benefited from the presence of H. siltalai nets. Negative effects on nymphs of the mayfly Ephemerella ignita were due to predation by H. siltalai larvae, while a combination of predation and increased emigration in response to nets depressed densities of Simulium truncatum blackfly larvae.
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