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1 March 2008 Prey Preference and Consumption by Some Non-Specialist Harvestman Species (Arachnida: Opiliones)
Aino Hvam, Søren Toft
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Only a few studies of harvestman prey have dealt with food preference, consumption rate and the value of different food types. This study seeks to clarify these aspects in the non-specialist harvestmen Rilaena triangularis, Oligolophus tridens and Nemastoma lugubre. Food quality was tested with adult R. triangularis, while all three species were used in food preference experiments. The harvestmen were offered eight food types: earthworm, slug, plum, turkey meat, Drosophila melanogaster (Diptera), Sitobion avenae (Aphidoidea), Sinella curviseta (Collembola) and Folsomia Candida (Collembola). In the food quality experiment, consumption rate and effects on animal fitness were examined. In the preference experiment, feeding observations and consumption measurements were used to indicate preference. In general there was little agreement between preference, amounts consumed and food value. Drosophila melanogaster and turkey meat were high quality foods, but associated with high consumption rate of the former and low consumption rate of the latter. Slugs, earthworms, aphids and plum were low-quality foods, though O. tridens and N. lugubre ate surprisingly high amounts of plum. The low quality of slugs is due to pre-ingestive effects, that of earthworms to post-ingestive effects, while the value of S. avenae was limited by both. There is a general similarity between harvestmen and other generalist predators in the value of different food types.

Aino Hvam and Søren Toft "Prey Preference and Consumption by Some Non-Specialist Harvestman Species (Arachnida: Opiliones)," Arachnology 14(4), 198-205, (1 March 2008).
Published: 1 March 2008
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