, Volume 474, Issue 1–3, pp 107–115 | Cite as

Spatial and temporal niche overlap of two mayfly species (Ephemeroptera): the role of substratum roughness and body size

  • Giuseppe Crosa
  • Andrea Buffagni


Intra- and interspecific niche overlap for two mayfly species with similar life cycle timing, Rhithrogena semicolorata and Ecdyonurus sp. gr. venosus, were investigated. The nymphs were classified into 5 classes according to size and spatial overlaps are measured along a substratum roughness gradient. Substratum roughness selection was investigated by defining utilisation curves, optimum and tolerance values of the nymphs in relation to larval growth. Differences between species and size classes within each species were observed. Ecdyonurus sp. gr. venosus dominated on rough substrates, whereas R. semicolorata was most abundant on smooth substrates. An intermediate value of total interspecific substratum roughness overlap (0.49) was found. Higher intraspecific than interspecific overlap values suggested a spatial niche segregation between the two species. The results suggested that the spatial niches measured, were closer to the `fundamental niches' than could be expected if competition was acting on the two studied populations.

niche overlap substratum roughness Rhithrogena semicolorata Ecdyonurus venosus 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giuseppe Crosa
    • 1
  • Andrea Buffagni
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia Strutturale e Funzionale, Università dell'InsubriaUniversità degli Studi dell'InsubriaVareseItaly
  2. 2.Istituto di Ricerca Sulle Acque, IRSA-C.N.R.Italy

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