Microhabitat selection by Simulium vittatum Zetterstedt larvae in a flume was studied at different mainstream velocities on two substrates; a thin flat plate parallel to the flow and a cylinder in cross flow. The results do not support the generally accepted assumptions that simuliid larvae keep within the boundary layer to avoid the direct influence of mainstream current and that they select the fastest velocity available when offered a longitudinal velocity gradient within their tolerance range. Instead, larvae gathered along the zone of boundary layer separation and remained along the stagnation line at the leading point of the cylinder when artificially positioned there. Further, under most conditions, larvae avoided zones of maximum surface shear stress. Larval reaction to hydraulic changes was immediate. It is hypothesized that S. vittatum larvae first scan the velocity profile at the substrate, initially moving toward increasing flow velocity (or water acceleration). They than cue on a steep velocity gradient along the body as part of the processes involved in choosing a location for suspension feeding.
Swedish Standard Keywords
- Ecology (10611)