Comparative ecology of Gammarus pulex (L.) and Asellus aquaticus (L.) I: population dynamics and microdistribution

M. A.S. Graça, L. Maltby, P. Calow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Gammarus pulex and Asellus aquaticus generally occupy different zones in rivers; the former occurs in upper reaches but is 'replaced' by the latter in lower reaches. Microdistribution and life-history patterns of G. pulex and A. aquaticus in sympatry and allopatry, were analyzed. Both species exhibited similar patterns of microhabitat selection, with larger individuals associated predominantly with large-sized substratum particles, and juveniles with weed. Coexisting populations of G. pulex and A. aquaticus had similar densities and population dynamics. Within each species, differences in population dynamics of allopatric and sympatric populations were observed. Although variation in population dynamics of G. pulex may be explained in terms of competition between the two species, the evidence is weak and equivocal. Differences in the dynamics of the two A. aquaticus populations were possibly a consequence of coal-mine and organic pollution, reducing the survival of offspring in the allopatric population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-162
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Asellus aquaticus
  • Gammarus pulex
  • coexistence
  • detrivores
  • microdistribution
  • population dynamics


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