Foraging activity of two species of predatory leeches exposed to active and sedentary prey
- 1) Division of Ecology (Aquatic Ecology Group), Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, T2N 1N4, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
The foraging activity of the freshwater leeches Nephelopsis obscura and Erpobdella punctata during acclimation to active or sedentary prey, starvation and refeeding was examined by filming over a 24 h cycle. For both species, the time of activity of individual leeches and the total number of leeches active were significantly correlated. Activity in the dark was significantly higher than in the light with the activity of N. obscura in the dark 16.2 times higher in terms of time and 6.7 times higher in terms of numbers of individuals moving than E. punctata. Large N. obscura were significantly more active than medium or small individuals and encountered more sedentary prey. With lower levels of activity E. punctata encounters and feeds on more active prey, and in lotic ecosystems its lower exposure to fish predation and drift is, at least partially, responsible for its numerical abundance over N. obscura. There were no significant differences in the activity of N. obscura or E. punctata fed on active or sedentary prey during either subsequent starvation of 1 to 10 d, or after refeeding, suggesting that unchanged foraging activity provides the optimun net energy gain during periods of change in prey type and availability.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics