Filter-feeding habits of the larvae of Anthopotamus (Ephemeroptera: Potamanthidae)

W. P. McCafferty, Y. J. Bae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


A field and laboratory investigation of the food and feeding behavior of larvae of the potamanthid mayfly Anthopotamusverticis (Say) was conducted from 1989 to 1991 on a population from the Tippecanoe River, Indiana (USA). Gutcontent analyses indicated that all size classes of larvae are detritivores, with over 95 % of food consisting of fine detritalparticles. Videomacroscopy indicated that all size classes of larvae are filter feeders, able to utilize both active depositfilter feeding and passive seston filter feeding cycles in their interstitial microhabitat. Deposit filter feeding initially incorporates the removal of loosely deposited detritus with the forelegs. Seston filter feeding initially incorporates filteringby long setae on the forelegs and palps. Mandibular tusks are used to help remove detritus from the foreleg setae. ASEM examination of filtering setae indicated they are hairlike and bipectinate, being equipped with lateral rows of setules.The results show that previous assumptions that potamanthid larvae were collector/gatherers are erroneous. Theresults are applicable to congeners, and all potamanthids, including Palearctic and Oriental elements, are hypothesizedto be filter feeders, differing only in some details of behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalAnnales de Limnologie
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthopotamus
  • Behavior
  • Detritus
  • Ephemeroptera
  • Filter feeding
  • Morphology
  • Potamanthidae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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