Detritus processing rates and mechanisms were investigated in an Ozark cave stream using post oak (Quercus stellata) leaf packs. The 5 g leaf packs lost ca. 30% of their dry weight within 84 days, resulting in a calculated K value of 0.05. This was an unexpectedly high rate of utilization. Diversity of invertebrates associated with the leaf packs was very low. Stygobromus ozarkensis (Amphipoda) was the only shredder. The two isopods, Caecidotea stiladactyla and Lirceus sp. were the only collectors observed other than a single species of oligochaete worm. Our data indicated that leaf detritus processing rates are virtually independent of the number of types of invertebrates associated with the leaf packs.

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