, Volume 220, Issue 3, pp 233–246 | Cite as

Distribution and seasonal occurrence of the hyporheic fauna in a northern California stream

  • Eric P. McElravy
  • Vincent H. Resh


The surface and hyporheic fauna of a second-order reach of a northern California Coast Range stream (Big Canyon Creek, Lake Co., CA, USA) was examined using substrate colonization samplers (i.e. hyporheic pots) during both the wet and dry seasons in the prevailing Mediterranean climate of the region. In terms of total number of macroinvertebrate taxa, the surface (0 cm to −5.0 cm within the stream substrate) level had higher richness than any level within the hyporheic (−5.1 cm to −15.0 cm, −15.1 cm to −25.0 cm, or −25.1 cm to −35.0 cm) from the beginning of the dry season (May) to the beginning of the wet season (October); during this period the surface was not subject to disturbance from wet-season storms. During the wet season, richness at the surface was similar to that observed at any of the three hyporheic levels examined.

Macroinvertebrate density at the surface was substantially reduced during the wet season; however, mean surface densities always exceeded those found within the hyporheic zone (from 25% to 78% of total macroinvertebrate numbers were found at the surface). Seasonal fluctuations in abundance of total macroinvertebrates and density of many constituent populations were less within the hyporheic zone than at the surface. Apparently, early instars of abundant surface taxa do not penetrate the interstices, and substrate disturbance due to spates is less in deeper levels. Compared with many hyporheic faunas described from other temperate-zone sites, this hyporheic community shows reduced numerical dominance by the Chironomidae.

Key words

aquatic insects artificial substrates benthos hyporheic seasonal variability streams 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric P. McElravy
    • 1
  • Vincent H. Resh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Entomological SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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