Original paper

Species diversity and abundance of plant-dwelling chironomids across hierarchical habitat and seasonal scales in the oxbow lakes of River Tisza, Hungary

Tóth, Mónika; Árva, Diána; Nagy, Sándor A.; Specziár, András


In temperate regions, plant-dwelling chironomids can be considered as cyclic colonizers that inhabit seasonally ephemeral submerged and floating-leaved macrophytes. In this study, patterns of abundance and species richness of plant-dwelling chironomids were investigated within and among stands of three macrophyte species in oxbow lakes along the River Tisza (Hungary). Chironomids colonized macrophytes rapidly and most species occupied the habitat before it had completely developed in June. Assemblage structure and abundance of particular species varied considerably between plant species, oxbow lakes and summer months in a characteristic succession from June to August indicating the presence of dynamic selection mechanisms. Abundance of most species, except Endochironomus tendens, total chironomid abundance, within-sample and total species diversity were highest on the submerged plant Ceratophyllum demersum, and most species occurred at the beginning of the colonization succession, in June. The contribution of oxbow lakes (20.3 %) and the month sampled (20.3 %) to total chironomid diversity was higher than would be expected by chance alone and the contribution of within (19.7 %) and between samples (13.5 %) to total chironomid diversity was lower than would be expected by chance alone. We conclude that regional biodiversity conservation action plans should include multiple habitats. Moreover, the significant seasonal species turnover proved the need for seasonal sampling to assess accurately the total diversity of chironomids in the system.


chironomidaecyclic colonizationdiversity partitioningbalanced hierarchical sampling designmacrophytesspatio-temporal pattern