Invertebrate zooplankton predator composition and diversity in tropical lentic waters
Invertebrate zooplankton predators are generally less diverse in average species numbers in tropical than in temperate lakes and reservoirs. Predatory Copepoda which comprise the majority of limnetic predators are particularly low in species numbers in the tropics. Predatory Cladocera are confined to the North Temperate zone. Chaoborus appears to be cosmopolitan. Among Rotifera, only the cosmopolitan predator Asplanchna occurs in tropical waters while the other common limnetic carnivorous genus Ploesoma is restricted to higher latitudes. Hydracarina, and insects besides Chaoborus, are generally restricted to the littoral and appear to be more diverse in the tropics. Lakes Awasa and Zwai, Ethiopia, are almost devoid of predators in the limnetic, which is invaded by a littoral chydorid Alona diaphana. Low diversity of lake types and low production of tropical zooplankton could restrict predator diversity too. Very low diversity of invertebrate predators in the limnetic and higher diversity in the littoral may characterize tropical lakes in contrast to temperate lakes, which have more invertebrate predators in the limnetic and perhaps relatively less in the littoral. Tropical zooplankton in freshwaters, appears to be a very immature community. Hence opportunistic species can readily invade the limnetic and even dominate in isolated situations as has been shown for Alona davidi, Hydracarina and some other unconventional forms.
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