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The Distributional Relationship between the Bottom Fauna and Plant Detritus in Streams

H. J. Egglishaw
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 33, No. 3 (Oct., 1964), pp. 463-476
DOI: 10.2307/2566
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2566
Page Count: 14
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The Distributional Relationship between the Bottom Fauna and Plant Detritus in Streams
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Abstract

Monthly samples, containing bottom fauna, plant detritus and inorganic matter, taken from the bed of a riffle in a stream, the Shelligan Burn, showed that the distribution of the bottom fauna was significantly correlated with the distribution of the plant detritus in the riffle. The distributions of Leuctra inermis, Amphinemura sulcicollis, Baetis spp., Rhithrogena sp. and Chironomidae (together comprising almost 70% of the fauna collected) were closely correlated with the distribution of plant detritus in the riffle. The distribution of Chloroperla torrentium was usually random and not related to the distribution of plant detritus. The distributions of the larvae of Simulium spp. and Hydroptilidae were shown not to be related to the distribution of plant detritus. Experimental evidence, from studying the aggregation of animals in trays, containing different amounts of plant detritus, set into the bed of the stream, showed that the similarity in the distribution patterns of the bottom fauna organisms and plant detritus in the riffle was not due solely to the operation of some external factor. In another stream, Allt dos Mhuicarain, which was chemically poorer than the Shelligan Burn, there were far fewer animals but the amount of plant detritus present was at least equal to that in the Shelligan Burn. The regression of animals on plant detritus in the Shelligan Burn, was much greater than the regression in Allt dos Mhuicarain. Insufficient variation of samples from the headwaters of the River Almond probably accounts for the relationship between the bottom fauna and plant detritus being demonstrated for only three of eight series of samples from this stream.

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