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Abstract

  • 1
    This paper lists 171 freshwater macroinvertebrate taxa from Tenerife (excluding chironomids) based on this study and other published information. Canarian endemism and a Mediterranean origin are dominant features in the data set. At least 14 species are Tenerife endemics. Endemism is especially high in the Diptera, Trichoptera and Coleoptera.
  • 2
    Extensive investigations were carried out at 57 sites in six different habitat categories and from at least two seasons. The most species-rich habitats were those with permanently running water, a biotope that is rare and diminishing in Tenerife.
  • 3
    The principal threat to freshwater environments is an increase in human exploitation of the water resources, which, if it is not moderated, will cause extinctions in the near future. Taxa that do not favour man-made canals are especially at risk—a risk that is increased by the small number of populations. These include the Canarian endemics Wormaldia tagananana, Tinodes canariensis (Trichoptera), Dixa tetrica (Diptera) and Baetis pseudorhodani (Ephemeroptera). Thirty-nine species were found at five or fewer sites.
  • 4
    Some species can survive in intermittent streams, although we found less than half of the taxa present in this habitat, indicating the extent of the diversity reductions that might be expected to follow the drying up of permanent streams.
  • 5
    Species living in the thin film of water in the madicolous habitats are similarly at risk. Three Canarian endemics were found exclusively in this habitat: Hydrotarsus pilosus, Limnebius punctatus (Coleoptera) and Satchelliella binunciolata (Diptera).
  • 6
    As a first step, protective measures are proposed for five of the most species-rich streams. If these were to be implemented, they would make a significant contribution towards maintaining biodiversity in the fresh waters of Tenerife.