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The freshwater mysid Mysis diluviana (Audzijonyte and Väinölä, 2005) (Mysida: Mysidae) consumes detritus in the presence of Daphnia (Cladocera: Daphniidae)

August 6, 2020

Freshwater mysids of the Mysis relicta group are omnivorous macroinvertebrates that form an important link between fishes and lower trophic levels in many north temperate to Arctic lakes, where they exhibit diel vertical migration (DVM) to exploit subsurface food-rich layers at night. Benthic food resources have been assumed to be less important for mysid diets than pelagic zooplankton. Studies have nevertheless indicated that mysids consume benthic sedimented detritus, calling this assumption into question. We conducted a food-choice experiment to evaluate the feeding preferences of Mysis diluviana (Audzijonyte & Vainola, 2005) by presenting field-caught specimens in individual foraging arenas with multiple choices of food. Experimental food treatments included a preferred pelagic prey (Daphnia), a presumed less desirable benthic resource (detritus), and a combination of both. We hypothesized that M. diluviana 1) prefers Daphnia over detritus and consumes only Daphnia in combination treatments, and 2) would not consume detritus except when detritus was the only food source available. Contrary to our hypothesis, M. diluviana readily consumed detritus in the presence of Daphnia. M. diluviana unexpectedly consumed more individuals of Daphnia in the presence rather than in the absence of detritus. Our results demonstrate that mysids take advantage of benthic food resources even in the presence of a presumably preferred zooplankton prey, calling to question the long-held assumption that benthic resources are unimportant when considering the trophic role of freshwater mysids of the M. relicta group.