Although it is widely accepted that black fly larvae employ filter feeding as their primary mode of nutrient intake, other forms of food acquisition, such as predation, may be more prevalent than previously realized. It has been suggested that environments where particulate matter is low, such as high-elevation seasonal streams, may drive predatory behavior in black fly larvae. Relatively little is known about the frequency at which larvae prey on other organisms or if predation may be obligate in some species. In order to supplement the idea that larval black fly predation may be a common method of feeding under certain conditions, a preliminary survey of predation by Prosimulium larvae was conducted in order to assess predation frequency at high-elevation sites (> 3,200 m) in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Larvae were sampled from alpine and subalpine locations, and their gut content analysis revealed evidence of facultative predation and possible cannibalism. Evidence of predation was observed in all but 1 Prosimulium species collected. Predation frequency was highest in the North Fork Snake River headwater location, a small tributary stream of the Snake River in central Colorado. This survey suggests that further inquiry into predatory behavior of black fly larvae should be conducted to determine the mechanisms, behavior, and ecological impact of this understudied feeding strategy.
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