1. The nutritional value of a pure algal food, the phytoflagellate Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, and a mixed diet was tested for five planktonic cyclopoid copepods (Acanthocyclops robustus, Cyclops vicinus, Cyclops abyssorum, Mesocyclops leuckarti and Thermocyclops crassus). The algae were offered at high density (4.5 x 105 cells ml-1; 22.5 mg C l-1) in a flow-through system. The mixed diet consisted of concentrated natural plankton (rotifers, copepod nauplii, small copepodites and large phytoplankton forms) in the size range 50-150 μm and with a dry mass > 20 mg l-1. Reproductive parameters (dutch size, interclutch periods, number of clutches produced) and adult longevity were monitored as indicators of nutritive value. 2. All species had a significantly lower reproductive output and a shorter or unchanged adult lifespan on the algal compared with the mixed diet. 3. The species differed considerably in their ability to use algae. Mesocyclops leuckarti produced no clutches with algae, and females died earlier than with the mixed food. Acanthocyclops robustus and C. vicinus produced smaller and fewer clutches, displayed a longer interclutch period and shorter (A. robustus) or similar (C. vicinus) lifespan on the algal food than on the mixed food. Thermocyclops crassus and C. abyssorum produced smaller clutches with the algal food, but interclutch period was shorter with the algal than with the mixed diet (T. crassus) or of the same length with both diets (C. abyssorum). Adult lifespan was the same under both food regimes. Unfed females produced no eggs. 4. The ability to utilize algae, the reproductive output and the reproductive allocation were not related to body size. Acanthocyclops robustus, a species of intermediate size, produced by far the largest clutches and the most eggs per lifetime under both food regimes and invested more in reproduction than the other species. 5. Reproduction was costly. Unfed and non-reproducing females of C. vicinus and C. abyssorum reached the same age or lived longer than fed and reproducing ones. 6. The adult cyclopoids tested are primarily omnivorous, but utilize algae which are frequently sufficient for egg production.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aquatic Science