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Macroinvertebrate–habitat relationships in the River Teifi catchment and the significance to conservation


Mr. R. A. Jenkins. Biologist. Welsh Water Authority. Area Laboratory, 19 Penyfai Lane, Llanelli, Dyfed, Whales SA15 4EL


SUMMARY. 1. A macroinvertebrale survey of various habitats (e.g. riffles, pools, tree roots) at sixteen sites in the Teifi catchment in September 1981 yielded 217 taxa excluding Hydracarina and Chironomidae.

2. Sites with the greatest number of habitats were generally rich in taxa and supported the highest number of ‘rare’ species, the latter generally being associated with vegetation. However, species were not generally restricted to particular habitats although ecdyonurid mayflies predominated in riffles and one leptocerid caddisfly was principally collected from tree roots.

3. Four groups of taxa which characterized three habitat groups were established using classification procedures and it was concluded that three habitat types (eroding, depositing and vegetation) should be sampled to describe adequately the macroinvertebrate fauna at each site.

4. Three attributes (species richness, species rarity and site uniqueness) were used to establish the conservational value of each site; in general, the main river and one lowland tributary were of highest conservational significance.

5. Multiple regression analyses were used to establish significant relationships between the three attributes and environmental features such as number of habitats, altitude, river width, pH and total hardness. Such relationships may facilitate a rapid assessment of resource value without expensive biological survey.

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