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Keywords:

  • Aquatic macroinvertebrates;
  • community composition;
  • habitat characteristics;
  • insect-plant association;
  • tank-bromeliads

Abstract

  1. Insect herbivore-plant associations have been widely explored in the scientific literature over the past decades, but other insect-plant associations have received little focus so far.
  2. Tank-bromeliads host a large number of invertebrate species and, even though previous studies showed a strong variation in community composition among tank-bromeliad species, the reasons for this variation are still unclear.
  3. In this study, we first examined whether different bromeliad species supports distinct and predictable community compositions and whether such variation was caused by (i) the bromeliad species itself, (ii) to its environment, and/or (iii) the covariance between both.
  4. We found that different tank-bromeliad species hosts distinct macroinvertebrate assemblages, but community composition was particularly less predictable in the smaller tank-bromeliads. Aquatic macroinvertebrates were sorted along a gradient of environmental conditions presented by the set of tank-bromeliad species examined, according to their functional and biological traits. The tank-bromeliad species and the environmental conditions within its tanks were strongly related and equally important in structuring these communities.
  5. These results suggest that associations between bromeliads and the fauna inhabiting its tanks are likely a result of the environmental characteristics particular to each bromeliad species.