Original Articles

THE ZOOBENTHOS OF THE TOUW RIVER FLOODPLAIN


Abstract

An eighteen month study (January 1979 - June 1980) of the sediment, emergent and submerged plant-associated benthic macro-invertebrates of the western sector of the Touw River Flood-plain is reported for four study sites: Wilderness Lagoon, the Touw River and East and West Serpentine. Total invertebrate standing stocks on emergent vegetation were negligible. Those associated with submerged plant communities (essentially Potamogeton pectinatus L.), were generally very much greater than sediment-associated invertebrate standing stocks. The following mean biomasses were recorded for the study period: (a) sediments - Wilderness Lagoon, 19,25; Touw River, 13,06; West Serpentine, 4,37; East Serpentine, 4,68 g dry mass m−2; (b) - Potamogeton-associated fauna - Touw River, 128,9; West Serpentine, 91; East Serpentine, 35,78 g dry mass m−2. Of the 37 taxa recorded for Wilderness Lagoon, 33 for Touw River and 31 each for West and East Serpentine sites, the most consistently dominant species were the amphipods, Melita zeylanica Stebbing, Corophium triaenonyx Stebbing, and Grandidierella lignorum Barnard, the tanaid, Apseudes digitalis Brown, and the bivalve mollusc, Musculus virgiliae Barnard. However, suspension feeding Musculus was by far the most important taxon.

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