, Volume 197, Issue 1, pp 193–205 | Cite as

Distribution and abundance of the alkali fly (Ephydra hians) Say at Mono Lake, California (USA) in relation to physical habitat

  • David B. Herbst


The distribution and abundance of larval, pupal, and adult stages of the alkali fly Ephydra hians Say were examined in relation to location, benthic substrate type, and shoreline features at Mono Lake. Generation time was calculated as a degree-day model for development time at different temperatures, and compared to the thermal environment of the lake at different depths.

Larvae and pupae have a contagious distribution and occur in greatest abundance in benthic habitats containing tufa (a porous limestone deposit), and in least abundance on sand or sand/mud substrates. Numbers increase with increasing area of tufa present in a sample, but not on other rocky substrates (alluvial gravel/cobble or cemented sand). Standing stock densities are greatest at locations around the lake containing a mixture of tufa deposits, detrital mud sediments, and submerged vegetation. Shoreline adult abundance is also greatest in areas adjacent to tufa. The shore fly (ephydrid) community varies in composition among different shoreline habitats and shows a zonation with distance from shore.

The duration of pupation (from pupa formation to adult eclosion) becomes shorter as temperature increases. The temperature dependence of pupa development time is not linear and results in prolonged time requirements to complete development at temperatures below 20 °C. About 700 to 1000 degree-days are required to complete a generation. Degree-days of time available in nature declines by 10 to 50% at depths of 5 and 10 metres relative to surface waters (depending on the extent of mixing), resulting in fewer possible generations. Essentially no growth would be expected at 15 m, where temperature seldom exceeds the developmental minimum. It is concluded that reduced substrate availability and low temperatures may limit productivity of the alkali fly at increasing depths in Mono Lake.

Key words

Ephydra life cycle development distribution Mono Lake substrate 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • David B. Herbst
    • 1
  1. 1.Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research LaboratoryUniversity of CaliforniaMammoth LakesUSA

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