, Volume 263, Issue 3, pp 163–172

Relationship between current velocity, depth and the invertebrate community in a stable river system

  • G. Degani
  • G. N. Herbst
  • R. Ortal
  • H. J. Bromley
  • D. Levanon
  • Y. Netzer
  • N. Harari
  • H. Glazman


The relationship between invertebrate densities, current velocity and water depth was studied in the Dan River, northern Israel. Maximum current preferences ranged from 5–120 cm sec−1, and depth preferences ranged from 5–60 cm. Thirty-five taxa of invertebrates were collected by means of colonization cages. Larval and adult stages of 3 Elmidae (Coleoptera) species were treated separately: Limnius letourneuxi, Grouvellinus caucasicus and Elmis rioloides. Differences in current preference were observed between larval and adult stages of the same species of Elmidae. Taxa were also grouped according to preference for turbulence. Wide ranges of depth and current velocity preferences were observed. Most of the taxa were found at between 80–100 cm sec−1 and at depths of less than 30 cm. A correlation between species diversity and current velocity was established. Velocities of 60–80 cm sec−1 contained the greatest overlap of faunal preference. The sensitivity of selected species to stream flow reduction is discussed.

Key words

Invertebrates current velocity depth preference turbulence 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allan, D., G. N. Herbst, R. Ortal, Y. Regev, 1988. Invertebrate drift in the Dan River. Hydrobiologia 160: 155–163.Google Scholar
  2. Barmuta, L. A., 1990. Interaction between the effects of substratum, velocity and location of stream benthos: an experiment. Aust. J. mar.Freshwat. Res. 41: 557–573.Google Scholar
  3. Benfield, E. F., D. R. Jones, M. F. Patterson, 1977. Leaf pack processing in a pastureland stream. Oikos 29: 99–103.Google Scholar
  4. Boon, P. J., 1978. The pre-impoundment distribution of certain trichoptera larvae in the North Tyne River System (Northern England), with particular reference to current speed. Hydrobiologia 57: 167–174.Google Scholar
  5. Canton, S., L. Cline, R. Short & J. Ward, 1984. The macroinvertebrates and fish of a Colorado stream during a period of fluctuating discharge. Freshwat. Biol. 14: 301–310.Google Scholar
  6. Degani, G., H. J. Bromley, R. Ortal, Y. Netzer & Y. Harari, 1987. Diet of rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) in a thermally constant stream. Vie et Milieu 37: 99–103.Google Scholar
  7. Degani, G., G. N. Herbst, T. Berman, Y. Netzer & R. Ortal, 1989. Physical and chemical factors in the Dan River and their relationship to algae colonization rates. 4th Intl. Conf. on Environmental Quality and Ecosystem Stability, Vol. IV-B: 359–368.Google Scholar
  8. Degani, G., G. N. Herbst, R. Ortal, H. J. Bromley, D. Levanon, H. Glazman & Y. Regev, 1992. Fauna relationship to abiotic factors along the River Dan in northern Israel. Hydrobiologia 246: 69–82.Google Scholar
  9. Fisher, S. G., L. Gray, N. B. Grimm & B. Busch, 1982. Temporal succession in a desert stream ecosystem following flash flooding. Ecol. Monogr. 53: 95–110.Google Scholar
  10. Flecker, A. S. & J. D. Allan, 1984. The importance of predators, substrate and spatial refugia in determining lotic insect distributions. Oecologia 64: 306–313.Google Scholar
  11. Gibbons, J. D., 1976. Nonparametric methods for quantitative analysis. Rinehart and Winston, 403 pp.Google Scholar
  12. Gore, J. A., 1978. A technique for predicting instream flow requirements of benthic invertebrates. Freshwat. Biol. 8: 141–151.Google Scholar
  13. Gore, J. A., 1983. Consideration of size related flow preferences among macroinvertebrates used in in-stream flow studies. In H. Shuval (ed.), Developments in Ecology and Environmental Quality. V.2. Balaban International, Rehovot, Israel.Google Scholar
  14. Gore, J. A., 1987. Development and application of macroinvertebrate instream flow models for regulated flow management. In J. F. Craig & J. B. Kemper (eds), Regulated Streams: Advances in Ecology. lPlenum Press, New York: 99–115.Google Scholar
  15. Gore, J. A. & R. M. Jr. Bryant, 1990. Temporal shifts in physical habitat of crayfish, Orconectes neglectus (Faxon). Hydrobiol. 199: 131–142.Google Scholar
  16. Gore, J. A. & R. D. Judy, 1981. Predictive models of benthic macro-invertebrate density for use in instream flow studies and regulated flow management. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 38: 1363–1370.Google Scholar
  17. Graessner, A. & P. S. Lake, 1984. Diel changes in the benthos of stones and of drift in a Southern Australian upland stream. Hydrobiologia 111: 153–160.Google Scholar
  18. Gurtz, M. & B. Wallace, 1984. Substrate-mediated response of stream invertebrates to disturbance. Ecology 65: 1556–1567.Google Scholar
  19. Herbst, G. N. & H. J. Bromley, 1984. Relationships between habitat stability, ionic composition and the distribution of aquatic invertebrates in the desert regions of Israel. Limnol. Oceanogr. 29: 495–503.Google Scholar
  20. Higler, L. W. G., 1975. Reactions of some caddis larvae (Trichoptera) to different types of substrate in an experimental stream. Freshwat. Biol. 5: 151–158.Google Scholar
  21. Hynes, H. B. N., 1970. The Ecology of Running Water. Toronto University Press, 555 pp.Google Scholar
  22. Irvine, J. R., 1985. Effects of successive flow perturbations on stream invertebrates. Can. J. Fish. aquat. Sci. 42: 1922–1927.Google Scholar
  23. Kovalek, W. P., 1978. Relationships between size of stream insects and current velocity. Can. J. Zool. 56: 178–186.Google Scholar
  24. McAuliffe, J. R., 1984. Competition for space, disturbance and the structure of a benthic stream community. Ecology 65: 894–908.Google Scholar
  25. Malmquist, B. & P. Sjostrom, 1984. The microdistribution of some lotic insect predators in relation to their prey and to abiotic factors. Freshwat. Biol. 14: 694–656.Google Scholar
  26. Minshall, G. W. & J. W. Minshall, 1978. Further evidence of the role of chemical factors in determining the distribution of benthic invertebrates in the River Duddon. Arch. Hydrobiol. 83: 324–355.Google Scholar
  27. Morin, A., P. P. Harper & R. H. Peters, 1986. Microhabitat — preference curves of blackfly larvae (Diptera, Simulidae) — a comparison of three estimation methods. Can. J. Fish. aquat. Sci. 43: 1235–1241.Google Scholar
  28. Muller, K., 1974. Stream drift as a chronobiological phenomenon in running water ecosystems. Annu Rev. Ecol. Syst. 5: 309–323.Google Scholar
  29. Orth, D. J. & O. E. Maughan, 1983. Microhabitat preferences of benthic fauna in a woodland stream. Hydrobiologia 106: 157–168.Google Scholar
  30. Osborne, L. L., E. E. Herricks, & Alavian, 1985. Characterization of benthic microhabitats: an experimental system for aquatic insects. Hydrobiologia 123: 153–160.Google Scholar
  31. Peckarsky, B. L., 1979. Biological interactions as determinants of distributions of benthic invertebrates within the substrate of stony streams. Limnol. Oceanogr. 24: 59–68.Google Scholar
  32. Peckarsky, B. L., S. C. Horn, & B. Statzner, 1990. Stonefly predation along a hydraulic gradient: a field test of the harsh-benign hypothesis. Freshwat. Biol. 24: 181–191.Google Scholar
  33. Pielou, E. C., 1975. Ecological Diversity. Wiley Interscience, 165 pp.Google Scholar
  34. Poff, N. & R. Matthews, 1985. Benthic macroinvertebrate community structural and functional group response to thermal enhancement in the Savannah River and coastal plain tributary. Arch. Hydrobiol. 106: 119–137.Google Scholar
  35. Por, F. D., H. J. Bromley, C. Dimentman, G. N. Herbst & R. Ortal, 1986. River Dan, headwater of the Jordan, an aquatic oasis of the Middle East. Hydrobiologia 134: 121–140.Google Scholar
  36. Rabeni, C. F. & G. W. Minshall, 1977. Factors affecting microdistribution of stream benthic insects. Oikos 29: 33–43.Google Scholar
  37. Reice, S. R., 1980. The role of substratum in benthic macroinvertebrate microdistribution in a woodland stream. Ecology 61: 580–590.Google Scholar
  38. Reice, S. R., 1983. Predation and substratum: factors in lotic community structure. In T. Fontaine & S. Bartell (eds), Dynamics of Lotic Ecosystems. Chapt. 16, 325–345. Ann Arbor Science.Google Scholar
  39. Resh, V. H., A. V. Brown, & A. P. Covich, 1988. The role of disturbance in stream ecology. J. N. Am. Benthol. Soc. IV: 433–453.Google Scholar
  40. Scullion, J. & A. Sinton, 1983. Effects of artificial freshets on substratum composition, benthic invertebrate fauna and invertebrate drift in two impounded rivers in mid-Wales. Hydrobiologia 107: 261–269.Google Scholar
  41. Seagle, H., 1982. Comparison of the food habits of 3 species of riffle beetles, Stenelmis crenata, Stenelmis mera and Optioservis trivatatus. Freshwat. Invert. Biol. 1: 33–38.Google Scholar
  42. Shannon, C. E. & Y. Weaver, 1948. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. University of Illinois Press, 117 pp.Google Scholar
  43. Snedecor, G. W. & W. G. Cochran, 1967. Statistical Methods of Analysis, 6th edn. Iowa State University Press, 593 pp.Google Scholar
  44. Statzner, B., 1981a. The relation between ‘hydraulic stress’ and microdistribution of benthic macroinvertebrates in a lowland running water system, the Schierenseebrooks (North Germany). Arch. Hydrobiol. 91: 192–218.Google Scholar
  45. Statzner, B., 1981b. A method to estimate the population size of benthic macroinvertebrates instreams. Oceologia 51: 157–161.Google Scholar
  46. Statzner & B. Higler, 1986. Stream hydraulics as a major determinant of benthic invertebrate zoning patterns. Freshwat. Biol. 16: 127–139.Google Scholar
  47. Statzner, B., J. A. Gore & V. A. Resh, 1988. Hydraulic stream ecology: observed patterns and potential applications. J. N. am. Benthol. Soc. 7: 309–360.Google Scholar
  48. Teague, S., 1985. Stream microhabitat selectivity, resource partitioning and niche shifts in grazing caddisfly larvae. Hydrobiologia 128: 3–12.Google Scholar
  49. Vodopich, D. & B. C. Cowell, 1984. Interaction of factors governing the distribution of a predatory aquatic insect. Ecology 65: 39–52.Google Scholar
  50. Waters, T. F., 1972. The drift of stream insects. Ann. Rev. Ent. 17: 233–272.Google Scholar
  51. Ward, J. V., 1976. Effects of thermal constancy and seasonal temperature displacement on community structure of stream macroinvertebrates. In G. w. Esch and R. W. McFarlane (eds), Thermal Ecology II. ERDA Symosium Series: 302–307.Google Scholar
  52. Ward, J. V. & J. A. Stanford, 1983. The intermediate disturbance hypothesis: and explanation for biotic diversity patterns in lotic ecosystems. In T. D. Fontaine & S. Bartell (eds), Dynamics of Lotic Ecosystems. Chapt. 12, 347–356. Ann Arbor Science.Google Scholar
  53. Wise, D. H. & M. C. Molles, 1979. Colonization of artificial substrates by stream insects: influence of substrate size and diversity. Hydrobiologia 65: 69–74.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Degani
    • 1
  • G. N. Herbst
  • R. Ortal
  • H. J. Bromley
  • D. Levanon
    • 2
  • Y. Netzer
  • N. Harari
  • H. Glazman
  1. 1.Golan Research Institute, Haifa UniversityKatzrinIsrael
  2. 2.MIGAL LaboratoryKiryat ShmonaIsrael

Personalised recommendations