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Trophic relationships among terrestrial molluscs in a Hawaiian rain forest: analysis of carbon and nitrogen isotopes

  • Wallace M. Meyer (a1) and Norine W. Yeung (a1)


Soil and adjacent leaf-litter environments support a diverse decomposer fauna. This has led to what is known as ‘the enigma of the soil fauna’, or the question of how it is possible for such large numbers of species to coexist without obvious biotic mechanisms, such as competitive exclusion, limiting coexistence (Anderson 1975). Dietary specialization or effective partitioning of food resources could be a mechanism to avoid niche overlap among sympatric soil/litter species (Chahartaghi et al. 2005, Jennings & Barkham 1975). However, unravelling the complexities of trophic relationships can be difficult, especially in soil/leaf-litter habitats where both consumers and prey are small, diverse and often unidentifiable (Scheu & Falca 2000). As such, the trophic relationships among species in these habitats typically remain unresolved.


Corresponding author

1Corresponding author. Current address: Department of Entomology, University of Arizona, 1140 E. South Campus Dr., Forbes 410, Tucson, AZ, 85721, USA. Email:


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