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Assimilation efficiencies of slugs on different food materials

Research paper by D. H. Davidson

Indexed on: 01 Sep '76Published on: 01 Sep '76Published in: Oecologia



Abstract

The relative assimilation efficiencies of two common British species of slug, Limax flavus (L.) and Arion hortensis (Fér.), were studied in the laboratory using a gravimetric method. Results are given for adult slugs feeding on carrot root and potato tuber at 5°, 10°, 15°, and 20° C, and for L. flavus juveniles of known age feeding on potato at 10° and 15° C. A few results are also provided for Agriolimax reticulatus (Müller) feeding on both potato and carrot at 15° C.High mean assimilation efficiencies of 76.94 and 76.87% were obtained for L. flavus feeding on carrot and potato respectively. The equivalent results for A. hortensis were 88.60 and 89.42%. For A. reticulatus at 15° C the figures were 76.1 and 71.9%. Ingestion rates and assimilation rates are given for the first two species at all temperatures. Assimilation efficiency was found to be independent of temperature for L. flavus but not for A. hortensis. Ingestion rate and assimilation rate were temperature dependent in all cases except for A. hortensis feeding on potato.A. hortensis was more efficient at consuming both carrot and potato per gram live weight. All species consumed more potato than carrot per gram live weight.Juvenile L. flavus were found to have higher assimilation efficiencies and ingestion rates than the adults per gram live weight.Linear regression equations were determined from the relationship between dry weight of food consumed, and dry weight of faeces produced from that food for L. flavus.It is concluded that food quality and age of slug may be the factors most strongly influencing assimilation efficiency in this group.