Eur. J. Entomol. 109 (2): 247-260, 2012 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2012.033

Are macrophyte-dwelling Chironomidae (Diptera) largely opportunistic in selecting plant species?

Mónika TÓTH1, Arnold MÓRA1, Béla KISS2, György DÉVAI3, András SPECZIÁR1
1 Balaton Limnological Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, H-8237 Tihany, Klebelsberg Kuno u. 3, Hungary; e-mail: tothmoni@tres.blki.hu
2 BioAqua Pro Ltd., Soó RezsĘ u. 21, H-4032 Debrecen, Hungary
3 Department of Hydrobiology, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Debrecen, Egyetem tér 1, H-4032 Debrecen, Hungary

In this study we evaluate how variations in taxonomic composition and physical structure of macrophyte stands affect plant-dwelling chironomid assemblages in highly variable macrophyte assemblages in two densely vegetated backwaters. By using multivariate explanatory techniques we found that similar vegetation composition did not unequivocally relate to similar chironomid assemblages, moreover the diversity of macrophyte stands did not correlate with the taxonomic diversity of chironomid assemblages in the backwaters investigated. Taxonomic composition and structural characteristics of the vegetation had little influence on the taxonomic or functional (i.e. feeding groups) composition of chironomid assemblages inhabiting them. Similarly, there are only weak relationships between the distribution of certain chironomid species or functional feeding groups and the environmental variables investigated. In general, the structure of the vegetation was more closely associated with the distribution of dominant chironomid taxa than compositional variables (i.e. density of specific macrophyte taxa). In summary, the structure of aquatic vegetation (i.e. position, size of a stand of vegetation, total plant density) and characteristics of the environment where it develops may be more important in shaping plant-dwelling chironomid assemblages than the taxonomic composition of the vegetation.

Keywords: Chironomidae, macrophytes, habitat preference, vegetation pattern, environmental variables, backwater

Received: September 26, 2011; Accepted: November 18, 2011; Published: April 5, 2012

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