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International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 27: 45-49, 2001
International Scientific Publications, New Delhi

Effect of Polyphenols in Leaf Litter on Energy Content and Respiration of Detritivore Soil Arthropod Species

S.K. Maity and V.C. Joy


Microcosm experiments were conducted to test whether major anti-nutrient chemicals in the leaf litter of different forest trees could affect the energy content and rate of respiration in Anoplodesmus saussurei (Diplopoda), a detritivore arthropod. The detritivore preferred to feed on Dalbergia sissoo and Cassia siamea litter with low initial polyphenol content than on Acacia auriculiformis and Shorea robusta litter with high polyphenol content even after decomposition for 30 days. Rapid decline of total carbohydrates and polyphenols indicated microbial conditioning of leaf litter and leaching of water-soluble components. Cassia litter provided highest energy content to the detritivore whereas the animals reared on Shorea litter had lowest calorific values. Artificial treatment of phenol on decomposing Cassia litter also resulted into notable decrease in the calorific values of A. saussurei. However, this could not significantly affect the rate of respiration suggesting that phenol probably acted as a feeding deterrent only and did not produce any notable physiological stress on this model detritivore species.

Key Words
: Anoplodesmus saussurei, Calorific content, Detritivore soil arthropods, Leaf litter decomposition, Polyphenols.