The influence of habitat structure and flow permanence on macroinvertebrate assemblages in temporary rivers in northwestern Zimbabwe
Chakona, Albert × Phiri, Crispen Magadza, Christopher H. D Brendonck, Luc #
Hydrobiologia vol:607 pages:199-209
Temporary rivers within the Nyaodza-Gachegache subcatchment in northwestern Zimbabwe were investigated to examine the role of flow permanence and habitat structure on macroinvertebrate community composition. Macroinvertebrate communities of intermittent and ephemeral rivers displayed significant differences in the number of taxa, macroinvertebrate abundance, Shannon and Simpson diversity indices and in size class structure. Intermittent sites were characterised by higher numbers of taxa, diversity and Ephemeroptera and Trichoptera richness compared to ephemeral sites. The fauna of ephemeral sites was dominated by a single taxon (Afrobaetodes) (Ephemeroptera, Baetidae) whilst larger sized taxa (e.g. Elassoneuria (Ephemeroptera, Oligoneuriidae), Dicentroptilum (Ephemeroptera, Baetidae), Aethaloptera (Trichoptera, Hydropsychidae), Pseudagrion (Odonata, Coenagrionidae) and Tholymis (Odonata, Libellulidae) were exclusively restricted to intermittent sites. Clear differences were observed between sand, gravel, cobble and vegetation habitats. Vegetation and cobbles supported distinct communities, with some taxa exclusively restricted either to vegetation (e.g. Pseudagrion, Leptocerina (Trichoptera, Leptoceridae), Cloeon (Ephemeroptera, Baetidae), Afronurus (Ephemeroptera, Heptageniidae) and Povilla (Ephemeroptera, Polymitarcidae) or cobble (e.g. Aethaloptera and Dicentroptilum) habitats. In terms of ensuring optimum diversity within the subcatchment, we consider conservation of critical habitats (cobbles and vegetation) and maintenance of natural flows as the appropriate management actions.