Factors influencing the longitudinal distribution of larval Hydropsychidae (Trichoptera) in a southern Appalachian stream system (U.S.A.)
- 1) Biochem Products, P.O. Box 264, 19710, Montchanin, DE, U.S.A.
- 2) Department of Entomology, The University of Georgia, 30602, Athens, GA, U.S.A.
The influence of physical habitat variables and suspended particulate organic matter (seston) on the distribution and production of eight species of larval Hydropsychidae was studied along a 6.4 km section of a southern Appalachian stream. Samples were collected at six stations encompassing stream orders 1–4 and an elevation range of 610 m. Multivariate analysis of covariance (using time as the covariable) and discriminant function analysis were used to examine habitat differences between the sampling stations due to the following variables: current velocity; coarse benthic detritus; substrate composition (by particle size); substrate heterogeneity; degree-days; and diel temperature fluctuation. The associations of these variables with the abundance (and production) of larval hydropsychids was also examined using the same statistical procedures. The six sampling stations represented three or four distinct habitats based on patterns of change in the variables along the stream continuum. Diel temperature fluctuation, median substrate particle size, the proportion of sand substrate, and substrate heterogeneity were most closely associated with the overall difference between the sampling stations. Hydropsychid species distribution along the stream system followed subfamily lines, i.e., Arctopsychinae and Diplectroninae were more abundant and productive in the upper 4.5 km of the stream, while Hydropsychinae were dominant in the lower 1.9 km. Diel temperature fluctuation was the habitat variable most highly correlated with patterns of hydropsychid abundance and production. The longitudinal pattern of species distribution, i.e., larger particle feeding Arctopsychinae being replaced downstream by smaller particle feeding Hydropsychinae, also coincided with the distribution of seston particle size classes along the stream. Mean seston particle size generally declined downstream, as particles <42 µm increased in relative abundance while those between 43 µm and 5 mm decreased. Temperature, seston, and substrate composition all undoubtedly exerted an important influence on the distribution and production of Hydropsychidae and other filter feeding insects in this stream. The validity and generality of these results depend upon the scope of the sampling effort. Conclusions drawn from data collected over the entire range (and limits) of a species' distribution are more sound than those based on data from a limited area.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie