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Neotropical dragonflies (Insecta: Odonata) as indicators of ecological condition of small streams in the eastern Amazon
Stockholm University, Stockholm Environment Institute.
Number of Authors: 6
2015 (English)In: Austral ecology (Print), ISSN 1442-9985, E-ISSN 1442-9993, Vol. 40, no 6, 733-744 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sensitive and cost-effective indicators of aquatic ecosystem condition in Amazon streams are necessary to assess the effects of anthropogenic disturbances on those systems in a viable and ecologically meaningful manner. We conducted the present study in the municipality of Paragominas, state of Pará, northern Brazil, where we sampled adult dragonflies in 50 100-m-long wadeable stream sites in 2011. We collected 1769 specimens represented by 11 families, 41 genera and 97 species. The suborder Zygoptera contributed 961 individuals and Anisoptera 808. Among the 97 recorded species, nine were classified as useful indicators of ecological condition, with four species being associated with more degraded streams (three Anisoptera, one Zygoptera) and five with more preserved streams (all were Zygoptera). Anisoptera (dragonflies) tend to provide more useful indicators of more degraded environments because they have more efficient homeostatic mechanisms and are more mobile, enabling them to tolerate a wider range of environmental conditions. By contrast, Zygoptera (damselflies) tend to provide a more useful role as indicators of more preserved environments and high levels of environmental heterogeneity because of their smaller body sizes and home ranges and greater ecophysiological restrictions. We conclude from our assessment of this low-order Amazonian stream system that (i) the occurrence of specific odonate species is strongly associated with the configuration of riparian vegetation, (ii) agricultural activities appear to be the main factor determining changes in the composition of odonate assemblages and (iii) these insects can act as useful indicators of the ecological consequences of riparian habitat loss and disturbance. Because generalist species invade moderately degraded areas, those areas may have high species richness but host few species of Zygoptera. Therefore, preserving dense riparian vegetation is necessary to maintain aquatic ecological condition, and that condition can be rehabilitated by planting new trees. Both require enforcing existing environmental regulations, various types of incentives and educating local communities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 40, no 6, 733-744 p.
Keyword [en]
Anisoptera, bioindicator, disturbance, environmental alteration, land use, riparian conservation, Zygoptera
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-124623DOI: 10.1111/aec.12242OAI: diva2:890384
Available from: 2016-01-03 Created: 2016-01-03

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