Habitat diversity and benthic functional trophic groups at Serra do Cipó, Southeast Brazil

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The assessment of the diversity of habitats and the characterisation of the functional trophic groups of benthic macroinvertebrate communities of some rivers of Serra do Cipó (MG) were the main objectives of this study. The available trophic resources and the types of substrata were characterised along with the structure and composition of their using functional trophic groups. Serra do Cipó is a watershed divisor of the São Francisco and Doce River basins, including a series of streams and rivers, of good water quality and well preserved ecological characteristics. Samples were collected in Cipó, Peixe and Preto do Itambé rivers, besides the Indaiá and Capão da Mata streams at 26 sampling stations, during the rainy (February) and dry (October) seasons of 1998, using "Kicking nets" of 0.125 mm mesh size. The group of collectors (Baetidae, Leptophlebiidae and Leptohyphidae) was the most abundant, followed by collector-predators (Hydrophilidae, Ceratopogonidae, Chironomidae-Tanypodinae), and detritivorous-herbivores (Oligochaeta). The riparian vegetation, together with the aquatic macrophytes, are the substrata containing the highest richness of functional trophic groups and the higher habitat diversity. The results suggest that the use of functional trophic groups, together with habitat evaluation, are efficient tools in the evaluation of the diversity of benthic macroinvertebrates, particularly in altitudinal lotic ecosystems.

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  • F. A. R. BARBOSA

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