Diverse traits of aquatic plants cannot individually explain their consumption by the generalist gastropod Biomphalairia glabrata.

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From: PeerJ(Vol. 9)
Publisher: PeerJ. Ltd.
Document Type: Report
Length: 8,740 words
Lexile Measure: 1550L

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Abstract :

Several experimental studies on aquatic plants have reported the prevalence of chemical defense mechanism against herbivory, as opposed to structural, life-forms or other traits. Here, our laboratory feeding experiments and integrative analysis explored the relationship among palatability (fresh or reconstituted plants used as artificial diet) and various chemical/nutritional traits (i.e., contents of dry mass, ash, nitrogen, protein, and phenols) of diverse aquatic plants and their susceptibility to consumption by the generalist gastropod Biomphalaria glabrata. Biomphalaria glabrata consumed all of the assayed aquatic plants in a hierarchical yet generalized way, with the consumption of fresh plants, their reconstituted forms and defensive properties of lipophilic extracts not being significantly correlated with plant physical or chemical traits to determine the feeding preference of the gastropod. Our results do not reveal a prevalence for a specific plant attribute contributing to herbivory. Instead, they indicate that the susceptibility of aquatic plants to generalist consumers is probably related to a combination of their chemical and physical properties, resulting in moderate grazing rates by generalist consumers.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A676160337