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1 June 2017 Hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) May Exhibit an Ontogenetic Dietary Shift
Kirsten A. Hecht, Max A. Nickerson, Phillip B. Colclough
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Abstract

Organisms in lotic habitats often experience dietary shifts over their lifetime. The diet of adult Cryptobranchus alleganiensis (Hellbender) is well studied throughout the species' range, but knowledge regarding the natural history of larval Hellbenders, including dietary information, remains scarce. We obtained non-lethal diet samples from 23 larval Hellbenders. Larval Hellbenders consumed primarily invertebrate prey including mayfly (Ephemeroptera) and caddisfly (Trichoptera) nymphs. Since these items do not comprise a large proportion of the adult diet, Hellbenders may undergo an ontogenetic dietary shift. Therefore, future management and conservation decisions regarding the Hellbender should consider the abundance and density of aquatic insect populations.

Kirsten A. Hecht, Max A. Nickerson, and Phillip B. Colclough "Hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) May Exhibit an Ontogenetic Dietary Shift," Southeastern Naturalist 16(2), 157-162, (1 June 2017). https://doi.org/10.1656/058.016.0204
Published: 1 June 2017
JOURNAL ARTICLE
6 PAGES


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