, Volume 299, Issue 3, pp 241–247 | Cite as

Impact of flooding on the densities of selected aquatic insects

  • Albert C. Hendricks
  • Lawrence D. Willis
  • Craig Snyder


Data from a four-year study of five aquatic insect species,Hydropsyche betteni, H. morosa, H. bronta, Isonychia bicolor, andEphoron leucon, were utilized to evaluate the impact of a 60-year flood and a few lesser floods. The survey began in August, 1984 and was terminated in October, 1987 with the 60-year flood occurring in November, 1985. Four sampling sites were established on the South River and six quantitative samples were taken each month from each site. Gauging stations on the South River provided accurate discharge data for the sampling sites and useful historical data. Densities for the five species were utilized in the evaluation of the floods. The importance of timing is pointed out, that is, floods that occur very close together or near the end of the life cycle of an insect make it difficult to evaluate floods as disturbances. The importance of life history traits, such as behavior and egg diapause, are discussed in respect to floods. Densities were reduced to less than 50% of their average values immediately after the 60-year flood for the threeHydropsyche spp. and at three sites forI. bicolor. Ephoron leucon showed no response to the 60-year flood. Densities of the four impacted species returned to previous levels in the following generation. The 60-year flood was considered a disturbance in the near term but not for more than one generation.

Key words

aquatic insects density floods disturbance stability 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albert C. Hendricks
    • 1
  • Lawrence D. Willis
    • 2
  • Craig Snyder
    • 3
  1. 1.Biology DepartmentVirginia Polytechnic Institute & State UniversityBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental QualityRoanokeUSA
  3. 3.National Fisheries Research Center/Leetown, Fish Culture and Ecology BranchKearneysvilleUSA

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