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A series of experiments examined how ecological factors affect notonectid foraging success on fairy shrimp. Variation in pond depth over natural ranges had no direct effect on notonectid ability to capture fairy shrimp. Decreases in water clarity over natural ranges led to decreased notonectid ability to capture fairy shrimp. This corresponds with the observation that six weeks after the fairy shrimp hatched they were more likely to be present in cloudy ponds than in ponds containing clearer water. If correct, this is a situation where physical factors have a major effect on how a biological interaction influences the local distribution of species. It appears water depth indirectly affects notonectid foraging rates, as shallow ponds are apparently made cloudy by wind-driven waves disturbing the bottom mud. These results suggest the notonectid-fairy shrimp interaction will not be a constant for any given pond, but will depend on abiotic factors like amount of rainfall and frequency of windy conditions.
Additional Publication Details
Predation by dipteran larvae on fairy shrimp (Crustacea: Anostraca) in Utah rock pools