Diel emigration and colonization responses of blackfly larvae (Diptera: Simuliidae) to ultraviolet radiation

  • Donahue W
  • Schindler D
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1. Total counts of blackfly larvae densities over 30- and 57-h periods in experimental channels during May of 1996 and 1997 indicate that ultraviolet radiation (UV; 290– 400 nm) may be important in stimulating emigration. 2. Under experimentally controlled solar UV exposure, larval densities at dawn in UV- shielded channels were 161% and 168% higher than in the UV-exposed channels. Larval densities in UV-exposed channels then decreased by 68.2% and 81.1% between dawn and early afternoon of the two days; density decreases in UV-shielded channels were slight, and not statistically significant, during the same periods. 3. Larvae within UV-exposed channels occupied shaded microhabitats during hours of intense solar radiation, suggesting that simuliid larvae can detect and respond to UV radiation over very short periods of time. 4. A cyclical pattern of UV-induced emigration during hours of increasing solar flux (06.30–13.30) and net immigration in the hours of decreasing solar flux and at night emerged. Thus stream invertebrates may be very sensitive to environmental changes, resulting in either increased UV flux or decreased shading of streams. Diel cycles in invertebrate densities should be taken into account in research designs and sampling protocols in order to identify and interpret correctly results of both periodic surveys and experiments.

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  • William F. Donahue

  • David W. Schindler

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