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Nutritive value and physical and chemical deterrents of forage grass litter explain feeding performances of two soil macrodetritivores

  • Pey, Benjamin
  • Trân, Cécile
  • Cruz, Pablo
  • Hedde, Mickaël
  • Jouany, Claire
  • Laplanche, Christophe
  • Nahmani, Johanne
  • Chauvet, Eric
  • Lecerf, Antoine
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
Open Archive Toulouse Archive Ouverte
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Millipedes (Diplopoda) and terrestrial isopods (Isopoda) may play a significant role in soil decomposition. The present study aimed to contribute to the general understanding of feeding performances of macrodetritivores consuming grass litter by answering two questions. Q1: Are grass litter traits indicating nutritive value (i.e. chemical) and traits indicating feeding deterrents (i.e. mainly physical but not necessarily) both necessary to explain individual feeding performances of soil invertebrates consuming grass litter? Q2: Do grass physical traits indicating physical deterrents (e.g. WHC for mechanical aspects) provide more than, less than or the same amount of information about invertebrate individual performances as grass chemical traits indicating mainly chemical but also physical deterrents (e.g. lignin content directly for digestibility and indirectly for mechanical aspects)? We thus designed a laboratory experiment to assess individual feeding performances of two common macrodetritivores (Armadillidium vulgare (Latreille, 1804) and Glomeris marginata (Villiers, 1789)) in four monospecific treatments of litter from perennial forage grasses (Brachypodium pinnatum P. Beauv., Bromus erectus Huds., Festuca rubra L. and Holcus lanatus L.). A. vulgare feeding performances were correlated with nutritive values (litter N and P contents) and plant mechanical aspects (LDMC: leaf dry matter content). G. marginata performances were correlated with chemical deterrents (cellulose and lignin contents). Thus, (Q1) for grass litters, both traits indicating nutritive value (e.g. N, P) and feeding deterrents (e.g. LDMC, lignin content) are necessary to explain macroinvertebrates feeding performances. We also demonstrated the results depend on the invertebrate species considered. Also, (Q2) chemical deterrents may influence feeding performances of G. marginata the most, while physical deterrents related to mechanical aspects may influence those of A. vulgare the most. Our study shows that using grass chemical and physical traits that indicate both nutritive value and feeding deterrents can help explain feeding performances of macrodetritivores.

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