A comparative study of the food niches of lake-dwelling triclads and leeches

  • Johnstone O. Young
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 6)


The food niches of four species of triclads and three species of non-parasitic leeches living in the littoral zone of British lakes of different trophic status were investigated, over one year, using a serological technique. Antisera against ten potential prey groups were employed. The basic data were adjusted to compensate for differences in predator size and seasonal changes in field temperatures. Data on two of the leech species have been presented elsewhere, but comparisons of the diet of all seven predator species are made in this paper. Much overlap in diet between the various predator species occurs, but, with one exception, each of the genera has a major food resource. The Polycelis spp. feed extensively on oligochaetes, Dugesia polychroa on molluscs, Dendrocoelum lacteum on Asellus, Erpobdella octoculata on chironomids and Glossiphonia complanata on molluscs. Helobdella stagnalis is a generalist feeder. Problems of coexistence of the leech species, and of the leech and triclad species are discussed.


Turbellaria Polycelis Dugesia Dendrocoelum Erpobdella Glossiphonia Helobdella serological technique diet British lakes 


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Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers, The Hague 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johnstone O. Young
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of ZoologyUniv. of LiverpoolLiverpoolEngland

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