Gammarus spp. are widespread throughout a diverse range of freshwater habitats and can be the dominant part of many benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages, in terms of both numbers and/or biomass. Although the vast majority of studies have emphasized the herbivorous nature of Gammarus spp. and their ‘shredder’ functional feeding group (FFG) classification, we show that a far wider food base is exploited than has been previously acknowledged. This ‘plasticity’ as herbivore/predator is linked to the success of Gammarus spp. in persisting in and colonizing/invading disturbance-prone ecosystems. Intraguild predation and cannibalism are more common than previously realized. This behaviour appears to be a causal mechanism in many amphipod species replacements. Additionally, Gammarus spp. are major predators of other members of the macroinvertebrate community. Furthermore, while many studies have emphasized fish predation on Gammarus spp., we illustrate how this fish: amphipod, predator: prey interaction may be a two-way process, with Gammarus spp. themselves preying upon juvenile and wounded/trapped fish. We urge that a new realism be adopted towards the trophic ecology of Gammarus spp. and their role as predators and prey and that previously established FFG assumptions of both the food and the feeder be questioned critically.
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - 01 Jan 1997|
- Functional feeding group
- Gammarus spp
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)