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What Is the Carcass-Usage Mode of the Collembola? A Case Study of Entomobrya proxima in the Laboratory

College of Earth Sciences, Jilin University, Changchun 130012, China
Department of Plant Sciences, Jilin Agricultural Science and Technology College, Jilin 132101, China
Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China
College of Resource and Environmental Sciences, Hebei Normal University, Shijiazhuang 050024, China
Department of Soil Science, College of Agricultural and Bioresources, University of Saskatchewan, 51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK S7N5A8, Canada
Jilin Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Resource Conservation and Utilization, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130117, China
Key Laboratory of Vegetation Ecology, Ministry of Education, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2019, 10(3), 67;
Received: 12 February 2019 / Revised: 1 March 2019 / Accepted: 4 March 2019 / Published: 7 March 2019
PDF [2034 KB, uploaded 7 March 2019]


Collembola display a variety of feeding habits, and prey on many types of food at different trophic levels in the soil. In most cases, their feeding selections are widely varied. In the interest of the food preferences of E. proxima, we attempted to confirm how the Collembola utilize food when feeding on carrion (unusual sources). Four different soil animals (with different stable isotope values and increasing trophic levels) were used to examine whether collembolans can use dead insects as a food resource in specific manners, depending on food preference. Our results demonstrated that the food preference of a collembolan changed significantly after feeding on insects with different feeding habits for 60 days. We found that stable isotope values (δ13C) of Entomobrya proxima approached those of the food sources. A large proportion of the diet (more than 50%) should directly consist of insect body parts, with the remainder consisting of indirectly used, mixed microorganisms naturally growing on animal food, such as fungi (Rhizopus sp., Alternaria sp., Penicillium sp., and Aspergillus sp.) and bacteria (Bacillus sp1. and Bacillus sp2.). Based on this research, the food preference of collembolans is more focused on carcasses (dead insect bodies) than microorganisms during the animal-food decomposition process. View Full-Text
Keywords: food preference; invertebrate; microorganisms; food spoilage food preference; invertebrate; microorganisms; food spoilage

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Feng, L.; Chang, L.; Zhang, S.; Zhu, X.; Adl, S.; Wu, D. What Is the Carcass-Usage Mode of the Collembola? A Case Study of Entomobrya proxima in the Laboratory. Insects 2019, 10, 67.

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