Growth and reproduction of laboratory-reared neanurid Collembola using a novel slime mould diet

Jessica Lauren Hoskins, Charlene Janion-Scheepers, Steven Loudon Chown, Grant Duffy

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Although significant progress has been made using insect taxa as model organisms, non-tracheated terrestrial arthropods, such as Collembola, are underrepresented as model species. This underrepresentation reflects the difficulty in maintaining populations of specialist Collembola species in the laboratory. Until now, no species from the family Neanuridae have been successfully reared. Here we use controlled growth experiments to provide explicit evidence that the species Neanura muscorum can be raised under laboratory conditions when its diet is supplemented with slime mould. Significant gains in growth were observed in Collembola given slime mould rather than a standard diet of algae-covered bark. These benefits are further highlighted by the reproductive success of the experimental group and persistence of laboratory breeding stocks of this species and others in the family. The necessity for slime mould in the diet is attributed to the ‘suctorial’ mouthpart morphology characteristic of the Neanuridae. Maintaining laboratory populations of neanurid Collembola species will facilitate their use as model organisms, paving the way for studies that will broaden the current understanding of the environmental physiology of arthropods.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11957
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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