We investigated habitat variables influencing the species richness and composition of anuran tadpole assemblages in ponds from riparian areas of the Middle Parana´ River. Tadpoles were collected at seven ponds that differed in hydroperiod and 10 habitat variables (water temperature, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, depth, size, time of isolation, macrophyte richness, and level of natural or anthropic disturbances) during a 5 year period. The presence/absence of potential tadpole predators was also recorded. Although we did not examine tadpole diets, we categorized anurans into ecomorphological guilds. We found that dissolved oxygen, maximum depth, pond size, macrophyte richness, and disturbances were significantly related to tadpole species richness. We also found that the richness of potential tadpole predator increased with longer pond hydroperiod. Thus, the number of tadpole species was higher in temporary and semi-permanent ponds without potential tadpole predators. The results of our study provide the first quantitative data on the tadpole assemblages in ponds associated with riparian areas of the Middle Parana´ River Floodplain based on multi-year intensive sampling, a finding of both ecological interest and practical significance for future conservation management of anurans of Parana´ River ecosystems.
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