Desiccation resistance of chironomid larvae


  • Jan Frouz Institute of Soil Biology, Ceske Budejovice
  • Josef Matěna CAS, Biology Centre, Hydrobiological Inst., Na Sádkách 7, České Budějovice, CZ37005, Czech Republic



Resistance to desiccation in larvae of eight species of aquatic, semiaquatic and terrestrial chironomids (Pseudodiamesa branickii, Macropelopia sp, Prodiamesa olivacea, Micropsectra sp., Chironomus riparius, Chironomus dorsalis, Metriocnemus martini and Camptocladius stercorarius) were studied. The larvae were desiccated in exicator at constant conditions (15 °C, 80% RH) and changes in moisture and body water content were recorded. The LD-50 for loss of body water was calculated. The lowest resistance to loss of body water displayed larvae from subfamilies Tanypodinae and Diamesinae Macropelopia sp. and P. branickii. They survived loss of 49.7 and 56.6% of original water content (presented values are LD-50). On the other hand the highest resistance to water loss was found in C. dorsalis. M. martini and C. stercorarius. The larvae of these species may survive loss of 67.4, 76.6 and 84.2% of original water content. Nevertheless the survival time under experimental conditions depends more closely on larval size that on lethal level of water loss. The smaller larvae desiccated faster and perished sooner than large ones despite they tolerate higher loss of body water.