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Spatial and temporal distribution patterns of drifting pupal exuviae of Chironomidae (Diptera) in streams of tropical northern Australia
- HARDWICK, R.A., COOPER, P.D., CRANSTON, P.S., HUMPHREY, C.L., DOSTINE, P.L.
- Freshwater biology 1995 v.34 no.3 pp. 569-578
- Chironomidae, integument, microhabitats, periodicity, species diversity, streams, temporal variation, Australia
- 1. Periodic collecting of floating cast pupal cuticles of chironomids (exuviae) in two tropical northern Australian streams demonstrates (i) spatial heterogeneity in species composition across a wide stream, (ii) temporal heterogeneity in the maximum abundance of each species, and that (iii) species accumulate as a function of sample size and duration of sampling, 2. Spatial heterogeneity is ascribed to variation in larval microhabitat across the wide stream, combined with short exuvial drift duration and restricted upstream mixing. 3. Temporal heterogeneity is ascribed to diel periodicity in adult emergence and, as with spatial heterogeneity, to the short floating life. 4. The consequences of spatial and temporal variation for the sampling of exuvial drift are discussed in relation to the objectives of particular programmes. Thus, if the objective is assessment of chironomid species composition for inventory purposes such as faunistics or conservation, the large sample sizes attained by 24âh sampling are necessary and appropriate. However, for rapid assessment that requires comparable samples at different sites, species numbers may be optimized by temporally and spatially restricted sampling of the maximal emergence period, which in this study is at dusk, or by subsampling from a 24âh sample.