, 614:117 | Cite as

Land use, habitat integrity, and aquatic insect assemblages in Central Amazonian streams

  • Jorge L. Nessimian
  • Eduardo M. Venticinque
  • Jansen Zuanon
  • Paulo De MarcoJr
  • Marcelo Gordo
  • Luana Fidelis
  • Joana D’arc Batista
  • Leandro Juen
Primary research paper


The distribution and composition of aquatic insect communities in streams at a local scale are considered to be primarily determined by environmental factors and interactive relationships within the system. Here, we evaluated the effects of forest fragmentation and forest cover changes on habitat characteristics of streamlets (igarapés) in Amazonian forests and on the aquatic insect communities found there. We also developed a habitat integrity index (HII) based on Petersen’s protocol (1992) to evaluate physical integrity of these streamlets and to determine its efficiency to interpret the environmental impacts on this system. We studied 20 small streams at the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project (BDFFP INPA/SI) study areas, Central Amazonia, 80 km north of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil. The vegetation cover was estimated by using LANDSAT images and classified in the following categories: exposed soil, pastures, secondary forests (capoeiras), and primary forests. Stream habitat features were evaluated by using a HII based on visual assessment of local characteristics. Aquatic insects were sampled in four major stream substrates: litter deposited in pools or backwaters, litter retained in riffles, sand, and marginal banks. Stream habitat characteristics were significantly correlated to land use and riparian forest condition. Overall aquatic insect richness and Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera (EPT) richness were significantly lower in pasture streams, and their taxonomic composition differed significantly from streams in forested areas. However, these metrics were not significantly correlated to the stream HII. Taxonomic composition of bank insect assemblages changed significantly between streams with low and high values of HII. There was no significant relationship between the proportion of primary forest cover and the faunal metrics. Only drastic changes in the vegetal cover seem to induce significant changes in the aquatic insect community. Matrix habitat heterogeneity, distance to forest fragments, the presence of areas of secondary forest, and the intrinsic capacity to disperse in many of the insect groups may have contributed to attenuate the effects of habitat disturbance on aquatic insect assemblages in streamlets.


Habitat integrity Streams Forest cover Forest fragments Aquatic insects Amazonia 

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorge L. Nessimian
    • 1
  • Eduardo M. Venticinque
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jansen Zuanon
    • 5
  • Paulo De MarcoJr
    • 6
  • Marcelo Gordo
    • 7
  • Luana Fidelis
    • 8
  • Joana D’arc Batista
    • 9
  • Leandro Juen
    • 9
  1. 1.Departamento de Zoologia, IBUniversidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)ManausBrazil
  3. 3.CPECINPA (National Institute of Amazonian Research)ManausBrazil
  4. 4.Departamentos de Ecologia e SilviculturaInstituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA)ManausBrazil
  5. 5.CPBAInstituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA)ManausBrazil
  6. 6.Departamento de Ecologia GeralUniversidade Federal de Goiás (UFG)GoianiaBrazil
  7. 7.Instituto de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM)ManausBrazil
  8. 8.DCENInstituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA)ManausBrazil
  9. 9.Departamento de Biologia GeralUniversidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV)VicosaBrazil

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