Journal article

Chironomidae diversity in high elevation streams in the Swiss Alps

Chironomids generally dominate macroinvertebrate assemblages in alpine streams. This study compared chironomid assemblages inhabiting 51 non-glacial streams in six alpine catchments in the Swiss Alps in 2012. Total abundances ranged from 3 to ca. 1900 individuals per sample with 42 taxa identified overall. Common taxa differed among catchments and among streams within a catchment (5 taxa comprised > 95 % of the total abundances among streams). Taxon richness varied from 18 to 29 between catchments and between 2 and 16 between individual streams. Beta diversity (B-w) ranged from 1.27 to 3.03 between streams within catchments. The most common taxa included Diamesa spp. (mostly D. zernyi-cinerella group), Pseudodiamesa spp. (mostly P branickii), Pseudokiefferiella parva, Corynoneura sp., Eukiefferiella spp., Orthocladius frigidus, Parametriocnemus stylatus, and Micropsectra spp. Nineteen taxa (45 %) were found at < 5 % of the streams and 8 taxa (19 %) were exclusive to one stream alone. These results indicate a highly diverse and spatially-structured chironomid assemblage with a prevalence towards rarity in these high elevation alpine catchments.


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