Life cycle, production, microdistribution and diet of the damselfly Euphaea decorata (Odonata: Euphaeidae) in a Hong Kong forest stream



Euphaea decorata in Tai Po Kau Forest Stream (Hong Kong) was univoltine. Most recruitment took place in summer, and larval growth proceeded throughout the year. Life-cycles recorded in 1977–78 and 1978–79 were similar. Annual production estimates, using the removal-summation, instantaneous growth and size-frequency methods, were more similar for the 1978–79 generation (ranging from 158.7–174.7; mean 1671 mg dry wt m-2) than for the 1977–78 generation (93.9-173-6; mean 131.7 mg dry wt m-2). Mean biomass was similar for both generations (ranging from 33.5–33.9 mg dry wt m-2), and mean P/B ratios were 3.9 1977–78) and 5.0 (1978–79). These are the first estimates of annual production by an Oriental stream insect.

Larvae were most abundant at microsites in the middle of the stream. Multiple regression analysis indicated that substratum characteristics were a major determinant of microdistribution. Euphaea decorata apparently favoured poorly-sorted sediments with highly peaked grain size-frequency distributions, containing few fine particles.

The carnivorous larvae showed ontogenetic changes in diet. Small individuals consumed mainly chironomid (Diptera) larvae; the diet expanded to include (successively) larvae of Ephemeroptera and Trichoptera as E. decorata grew. Seasonal changes in diet were also apparent, although larval diets during spring and summer were similar. There was also considerable overlap between autumn and winter diets. Ontogenetic influences upon prey consumed were not sufficient to account for the observed seasonal differences.