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The macro invertebrate fauna of a new zealand forest stream


, : The macro invertebrate fauna of a new zealand forest stream. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 5(1): 157-170

The distribution, abundance and life histories of benthic invertebrates were investigated in a small Nothofagus forest stream in North Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand. The fauna was dominated by Trichoptera and Plecoptera; Mollusca and fish were absent. Large particle detritivores and scrapers were the predominant functional groups found. Larval Philopotamidae (Trichoptera) were the only abundant filter feeders. Nymphs of the stonefly Spaniocerca zelandica and of mayflies, Deleatidium spp. were the most abundant animals on plant detritus; Deleatidium spp. were abundant on stones also. The distribution of invertebrates in riffles, loose stones, pools and plunge pools was examined using mesh colonization trays lifted in Sept., Nov., Feb. and May after, respectively, 88, 69, 98 and 94 days in situ. Most species were widely distributed, and sample densities of the more abundant insect species showed weak positive correlations with the biomass of detritus present in trays in most months. The turbellarian Neppia montana was overrepresented in trays compared with stream samples, but the relative abundance of most other species appeared to be similar to that on the stream bed. A large amount of silt accumulated in trays during a heavy flood, and was colonized mainly by the oligochaete Eiseniella tetraedra. Information on the life histories of 15 spp. of Plecoptera, Trichoptera, Ephemeroptera and Coleoptera was obtained from a 1 yr monthly sampling program, in which 36 taxa were distinguished, and from collections of adult insects made over a 3-4 yr period. Most species had poorly synchronized life histories, in that a wide size range was apparent among individuals in most months. Eight species emerged in at least 4 mo.; S. zelandica and the philopotamid Hydrobiosella stenocerca were taken in 8 and 9 mo., respectively.

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