Gut evacuation time is a very useful parameter that allows us to understand the daily trophic cycle of a predator. Macrobrachium borellii is an inhabitant of the littoral-benthic community of the Paraná River system that preys on various organisms. In this work, three types of prey (cladocerans, dipteran larvae, and oligochaetes), which are different in shape and mobility, were offered to M. borellii to investigate the gut evacuation time of each one. All prey represent the natural diet of this prawn based on previous work. Results showed a faster digestion of cladocerans than mosquito larvae and oligochaete. These last two types of prey are cylindrical and may interfere with the maceration process in a stomach that lacks a gastric mill. In addition, the high mobility of cladocerans and mosquito larvae implies greater energy expenditure in their capture. However, cladocerans are the prey with the lowest caloric value per individual and therefore offers the lowest net energy to the prawn. This implies that a cladoceran diet would require higher daily consumption and more time foraging, and thus potentially exposing the prawn to greater predation risk. All of these factors direct selection toward the more profitable prey (oligochaetes and dipteran larvae), in agreement with the natural diet observation, suggesting that the time of digestion may have little importance in prey selection.
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Vol. 31 • No. 4