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Food Habits of Stoneflies (Plecoptera) in the Gunnison and Dolores Rivers, Colorado

Description: Gut contents of 2,500 stonefly nymphs, comprising 10 species, from the Gunnison and Dolores Rivers, Colorado were examined from Dec., 1974-Oct., 1975. Perlidae species were carnivorous feeding primarily on chironomids, mayflies and caddisflies. Seasonal patterns of ingestion and preference varied among species and predator sizes and between rivers. Early instar polyphagous species utilized detritus in the fall, eventually shifting to carnivorous habits as they grew through winter-spring. Pteronarcids fed predominantly on detritus. Dietary overlap of predators was greatest in the Gunnison River, with subtle mechanisms such as prey species and size selectivity, temporal succession and seasonal shifts to detritus-plant material in some, providing reduction of competition. A more complete partitioning of prey resources was evident in the Dolores River.
Date: August 1976
Creator: Fuller, Randall L.