Directional movement in response to altered flow in six lowland stream Trichoptera

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Understanding the trait adaptations associated with mobility in Trichoptera larvae under different flow conditions would enhance the understanding of survival mechanisms under flow stress induced by spates. In stream mesocosms, we mimicked a lowland stream spate by suddenly increasing current velocity above an organic habitat patch from 10 to 30 or 50 cm/s. Subsequently, we investigated whether short-term, small-scale movements in six Trichoptera species were not random but directional and whether the type of movement was related to the magnitude of flow increase. Main types of response distinguished were as follows: (1) resistance, in which the species remained in the habitat patch, (2) upstream or downstream crawling, and (3) being dislodged from the streambed and drift downstream (vulnerability). The type of response observed was related to the species’ ecological preferences and morphological traits. The experiment showed that movement in Trichoptera larvae was directional and flow-dependent. Drift was the main mechanism observed with an increase in current velocity, but upstream crawling and aggregation in the habitat patch were observed as well. The type and magnitude of the response were highly species specific. It appeared that each combination of morphological and behavioral adaptations developed individually for each species under niche-specific conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-230
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • lotic macroinvertebrates
  • benthic invertebrates
  • field experiments
  • upstream movements
  • river systems
  • drift
  • colonization
  • habitat
  • refugia
  • insect


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