Perceptual scales of spatial heterogeneity of periphyton for freshwater snails

Authors


Masakado Kawata E-mail: kawata@mail.cc.tohoku.ac.jp

Abstract

The hypothesis that individuals recognize their environment as homogeneous when the scales of spatial heterogeneity of resources are smaller than a certain scale, but can distinguish them as patches when they are larger than that scale was tested using freshwater snails (Physa acuta) in various distributions in periphyton environments. In a pattern of periphyton distribution in which the size of algal cells was 47 mm, individuals moved significantly more slowly on algal cells than on nonalgal cells. However, in other patterns in which the sizes of algal cells were 23.5 mm and 15.7 mm, the speeds of individuals on algal and nonalgal cells were not significantly different. These results support the hypothesis that individuals use the environment homogeneously when the scales of spatial heterogeneity of resources are smaller than a certain scale, but they can distinguish between patches when the scales are larger.

Ancillary