, Volume 272, Issue 1-3, pp 27-38

On the diversity of the Cladocera in the tropics

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The mythical concept of an impoverished tropical cladoceran fauna is refuted. On a planetary scale, around half of the cladoceran species presently known occur exclusively in the tropics-subtropics, often with considerable restriction to particular geographical subzones. On a regional (political) scale, the situation is often unclear because of the continued fragmentary nature of studies, and because political units are not a good basis for biogeographical comparisons. At the finest level of resolution (lake-perlake comparisons), there appears to be an upper limit of c. 50 cladoceran species per individual lake. No significant difference between lakes in the temperate zone and in the tropics could be established here. Daphnia is largely absent from the tropics, but is replaced by more Sidids, Moinids, and Bosminids, such that the average cladoceran community in the limnetic zone of a tropical lake is not characterized by less species but rather by lower population densities. This, in turn, is considered a consequence of higher prevalent predation levels in the tropics.