Nataša Turić, Enrih Merdić, Branimir K. Hackenberger, Željka Jeličić, Goran Vignjević, Zoltán Csabai (2012): Structure of aquatic assemblages of Coleoptera and Heteroptera in relation to habitat type and flood dynamic structure. Aquatic Insects 34 (sup. 1): 189-205.
The abundance and taxonomic composition of the aquatic insect fauna were investigated, with focus on adult water bugs, water beetles and water scavenger beetles (Heteroptera: Nepomorpha and Gerromorpha, and Coleoptera: Hydradephaga and Hydrophilidae) in two different freshwater habitats: (1) a periodically flooded area of the Special Zoological Reserve in Kopački rit Nature Park, Croatia; and (2) melioration canals in the wider area of the Nature Park during 2005. Aquatic insects are generally abundant in various water systems, including floodplains that are exposed to water level fluctuations. Our aims were (1) to determine abundance and species richness in relation to habitat type; (2) to determine the influence of high flood peaks and oscillations during high water levels on the diversity of aquatic Coleoptera and Heteroptera in the flooded area; and (3) to identify characteristic species associated with each habitat type. We collected 71 species; 41 were captured at canals and 64 at the flooded area. Diversity of the two habitat types varied depending on the months but there were remarkable differences in species pool and their abundance. Both high and low water levels as well as oscillations during high water levels had major influence on species assemblages at the flooded area. Diversity of aquatic Coleoptera and Heteroptera was higher when the water level decreased after high water level peaks. A total of 11 species fulfilled the criteria for specificity and were sufficiently abundant to be suitable species characteristic for these two habitats. A higher proportion of significant characteristic species was present in the flooded area than in the canals. The presence of two Red List species of water beetles (Graphoderus bilineatus De Geer, 1774 and Berosus geminus Reiche et Saulcy, 1856) and nine significant characteristic species at the flooded area clearly indicates that the contribution of floodplains in maintaining freshwater biodiversity is not only important regionally but also at the international level. Also, our results suggest that the power of high water levels is an important factor that can be used in analyses on aquatic Coleoptera and Heteroptera assemblages, showing the uniqueness of large floodplain areas.
canal habitat, flooded habitat, water levels, flood intensity, significant species, Kopački rit Nature Park