Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
〈list xml:id="l1" style="custom"〉1 Larvae of the caddisfly Anisocentropus kirramus are common leaf shredders in rainforest streams in tropical Queensland. Laboratory experiments were undertaken to examine the effects of (a) differences in leaf species, age and degree of conditioning, (b) leaf preferences, (c) temperature and (d) larval stage on processing of leaf litter by A. kirramus.2 Leaf species (five tested), age (fresh v senescent) and condition (conditioned in stream v unconditioned) each had a significant effect on the amount of leaf material that was processed. For most species, conditioned leaves were processed faster but for one species unconditioned leaves were processed faster. Senescent leaves were processed more rapidly than green leaves in three species but not in the other two. Given a choice of leaf types A. kirramus actively selected leaves that were processed faster; no preference was shown between two different ‘fast’ leaves.3 Processing occurred at all temperatures tested (10, 18 and 25°C), with the processing rate increasing with temperature. Younger instar larvae processed leaves at a greater rate per unit body weight (up to 343% day−1) than older instars. Final instar (5) larvae were capable of processing some tough leaves that younger instars did not process.4 In rainforest streams, processing of leaves by A. kirramus takes place throughout the year. Its ability to process green leaves is important because of the high input of fresh green leaves into tropical streams, and because of the severe depletion of the supply of conditioned leaves and fine detritus after floods.
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