Original paper

Macroinvertebrate drift in Amazon streams in relation to riparian forest cover and fish fauna

Jacobsen, Dean; Bojsen, Berit

Archiv für Hydrobiologie Volume 155 Number 2 (2002), p. 177 - 197

38 references

published: Dec 9, 2002

DOI: 10.1127/archiv-hydrobiol/155/2002/177

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP141015502000, Price: 29.00 €

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Macroinvertebrate drift was studied in 12 sites in 9 lowland streams (400 m), three mid-altitude streams (2100 m) and three high-altitude streams (3800 m) in Ecuador. The purposes of our study was 1) to examine levels and periodicity of drift in relation to altitude, 2) to examine levels and periodicity of drift in relation to environmental site characteristics and 3) to examine the effect of deforestation and specific fish families on levels and diel periodicity of drift in the lowland streams. At all altitudes, day drift of terrestrial invertebrates was equal to or greater than that of aquatic invertebrates, while aquatic invertebrates always dominated drift at night. Mean day drift density of aquatic invertebrates was the same at the two high altitudes, while it was lower in the lowland streams. In contrast, night drift density was higher in lowland stream compared to the two highland stream groups. In all lowland streams drift of aquatic invertebrates was higher at night than at daytime (night: day drift ratio 2-45, mean: 10), while it was largely aperiodic in both groups of highland streams. In all lowland streams, drift was dominated by insects (mean 99.6%). No significant correlations were found between drift density, drift % or periodicity and riparian forest cover, benthic macroinvertebrate densities or any other environmental site characteristic in the lowland streams. However, path analyses indicated that riparian forest had a significantly negative indirect effect on night and day drift densities, because an increase in riparian cover was associated with a decline in the abundance of fish and benthos. Species richness, density and biomass of fish were directly correlated with invertebrate drift. These parameters had no effect on total day or night drift densities or drift %, but were positively correlated with the night: day drift ratio. The night: day drift ratios were more closely correlated with the species richness of Loricariidae catfish than to any other fish family. Loricariidae are night active, benthic herbivorous-detritivorous scrapers of biofilm, and their presumed effect on drift periodicity is due to physical disturbance of benthic invertebrates during the night, and not necessarily to a behavioural response from benthic invertebrates. Drift of the dominant invertebrate families (Leptophlebiidae, Baetidae, Tricorythidae, Hydropsychidae and Chironomidae) varied among localities, but night: day drift ratios of all families were positively correlated with species richness of fish, although this pattern was only significant for Leptophlebiidae and Baetidae.


Tropical streamsEcuadormacroinvertebratesdriftriparian forestfishLoricariidae.