The Influence of Stream Flow Reduction on the Energetics of Endemic Hawaiian Torrenticolous Aquatic Insects, Telmatogeton Schiner and Procanace Hendel

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Journal of Insect Conservation


Tropical island stream ecosystems continue to be threatened by increasing anthropogenic demands for freshwater, with many streams dammed or diverted. Stream flow amendments can have substantial effects on aquatic insect populations of tropical archipelagoes. In Hawaiian streams, an endemic Diptera community of the following genera dominates cascades and other torrential habitats: Telmatogeton Schiner (Chironomidae), Procanace Hendel (Canacidae), Scatella Robineau-Desvoidy (Ephydridae). Larval densities, standing stock biomass (SSB, as ash-free dry mass [AFDM]), and monthly secondary production of Telmatogeton and Procanace were measured during two summers of significantly different stream discharge in Iao Valley, Maui, Hawaii. Very few Scatella larvae were collected (combined), so they were omitted from subsequent analyses. Stream discharge decreased approximately 40% from 1994 to 1995, providing a 'natural test' of the effects of reduced stream flow on these torrenticolous populations between two years. Combined Telmatogeton and Procanace SSB (total torrential community SSB) was 3176 and 1683 mg AFDM m-2 for 1994 and 1995, respectively, with Telmatogeton accounting for >95% in both years due to significantly larger body size and high density. The SSB of Telmatogeton significantly decreased from 3138 to 1622 mg AFDM m-2 from 1994 to 1995 but increased for Procanace (37.6-60.9 mg AFDM m-2, respectively). Total torrential community secondary production was 31% lower in 1994 (12,833 mg AFDM m-2mo-1) compared to 1995 (8855 mg AFDM m-2 mo-1), reflecting the Telmatogeton proportion of total community production (99%); however, Procanace production increased by 40%. Monthly P/B ratios indicated that biomass turnover was generally high and increased for Telmatogeton from 1994 (3.8) to 1995 (5.1), whereas it remained lower and did not change between years for Procanace (1.7). A natural drought of the Iao Stream valley was associated with structural and functional changes in two endemic aquatic insects; these results are a conservative indication of permanent stream flow reductions from anthropogenic withdrawal (e.g., dams and diversions).


Electronic ISSN: 1572-9753; Print ISSN: 1366-638X





Peer Reviewed





Biomass, Hawaii, Macroinvertebrates, Production, Stream flow, Tropical