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SUMMARY

  • 1
    For Trichoptera occurring in two sites of the Upper Rhône River (France) we examine: (i) relationships among species traits; (ii) habitat utilization of Trichoptera species; (iii) the relationship between species traits and habitat utilization; (iv) trends of species traits in the framework of spatial–temporal habitat variability to test predictions of the habitat templet concept; and (v) trends of species richness in the framework of spatial–temporal habitat variability to test predictions of the patch dynamics concept.
  • 2
    Of the sixteen species traits selected, twelve have high correlation ratios for the seventy-five species used in this analysis; these traits are related to behavioural, morphological, or physiological aspects. Traits related to reproduction or life cycle have lower correlation ratios.
  • 3
    An ordination by species traits separates the five main families into three groups: (i) Hydropsychidae and Polycentropodidae; (ii) Hydroptilidae; and (iii) Leptoceridae and Limnephilidae. An ordination of the habitat utilization of the species in ten habitats indicates that the Hydropsychidae occur preferentially in the main channel, Hydroptilidae, Polycentropodidae, and Limnephilidae occur in backwaters or oxbow lakes, and the Leptoceridae are ubiquitous.
  • 4
    The Hydropsychidae exhibit a relationship between species traits and habitat utilization, i.e. they use similar habitat types with similar species traits. The species traits of the other four families are similar but their habitat utilization is quite different.
  • 5
    The Hydropsychidae occur in lowest spatial–temporal variability habitats and Limnephilidae in the highest. Therefore, net spinners and filterers are characteristic of habitats with a low spatial–temporal variability, whereas shredders and case makers using plant material are characteristic of habitats with high spatial–temporal variability. The trends in species traits show little agreement with trends predicted from the river habitat templet.
  • 6
    Trends of species richness in the framework of spatial and temporal variability do not follow the predictions of the patch dynamics concept because richness is similar in all superficial habitats. This implies that each habitat, in spite of large differences in their spatial and temporal variability, offers Trichoptera a similar but limited number of ecological niches.