Body stance and water flow through the labral fans of suspension-feeding Simulium vittatum Zetterstedt larvae were examined using dead and live larvae. Transmission of flowing water through the fans were determined by means of dye injections. Feeding stance is the outcome of an active feedback process between flow forces and behavioural reactions that maintains the fans in an optimal filtering position. Fans responded to velocity increases through structural reconfiguration, which resulted in an increase in aperture size. As the velocity decreased, an increased fraction of the water directly approaching the fan aperture flowed around its perimeter, with no flow through the fans below 2.5 cm/s. Fluid transmission never exceeded 30-35%, even at velocities up to 50 cm/s. Calculations of suspension-feeding efficiency are reformulated to reflect labral fan transmission and behavioural components of the feeding process. Simulium vittatum larvae are consequently showed to be 4-26 times more efficient in filter feeding than has been previously assessed. The effect of flow on labral fan transmission is discussed in relation to known habitat choices and feeding behaviours of simuliid larvae.
- Zoologi (10608)