, Volume 662, Issue 1, pp 171–177 | Cite as

Predatory and toxic effects of the turbellarian (Stenostomum cf leucops) on the population dynamics of Euchlanis dilatata, Plationus patulus (Rotifera) and Moina macrocopa (Cladocera)

  • S. Nandini
  • S. S. S. Sarma
  • Henri J. Dumont


Catenulid turbellarians, common in shallow, tropical ponds, affect their rotifer prey via the production of toxins. There is, however, no quantitative information on their effect on the demography of their prey. Here, we test the impact of Stenostomum cf leucops on the population dynamics of the rotifers Euchlanis dilatata and Plationus patulus, and the cladoceran Moina macrocopa. Experiments were initiated with rotifers at 0.5 ind. ml−1 and the cladoceran at 0.2 ind. ml−1; growth patterns were compared in the absence and presence of worms (2 Stenostomum ind. per 50 ml). Results revealed that brachionids were most adversely affected: there was a lower growth rate of the rotifers in the presence of worms (P < 0.01, repeated measures ANOVA), although at the densities applied, the predator did not wipe out its prey. These littoral predators may therefore regulate rotifer prey in natural conditions. In Moina, the population evolved differently; initially, we found no difference between control and treatment, but after about 10 days, the population collapsed, irrespective of a direct or indirect contact with the predator. This delayed effect deserves more study, as it could represent flatworm toxin accumulation by the cladoceran.


Flatworms Population growth Plationus patulus Euchlanis dilatata Moina macrocopa Egg ratio 



We thank Dr. J. Kolasa for identifying the flatworm. The first two authors thank National Autonomous University of Mexico (DGAPA–PASPA) for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Nandini
    • 1
  • S. S. S. Sarma
    • 1
  • Henri J. Dumont
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Zoología Acuática, División de Investigación y Posgrado, Edificio UMFUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoTlalnepantlaMexico
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of GentGhentBelgium

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