Benthic macroinvertebrate families were sampled along 3 rivers in New Brunswick, Canada. Stable isotopes of C and N were compared between body tissue and gut contents of individuals. δ13C and δ15N of body tissue and gut contents were strongly correlated (r = 0.94 and 0.93, respectively) over a wide range of δ values. In nonpredators, only minor fractionation of δ13C and δ15N was observed. In predators, diet–tissue fractionation of 13C was minor, but 15N fractionation that may have been related to diet quality (N content) was observed. The influence of diet quality on N-isotope fractionation was inconsistent in direction and strength among families. Our results suggest that subjecting primary consumers to gut clearance prior to processing for stable-isotope analysis is unnecessary, but the guts of predators should be removed before processing.
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Vol. 24 • No. 2