Estrutura trófica de macroinvertebrados em riachos tropicais de pastagem
Alternative titleTrophic structure of macroinvertebrates in tropical pasture streams
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Aim: The aim of this study was to describe the diet of stream macroinvertebrates and to determine their trophic groups. Methods: Invertebrates were sampled with D nets in three pasture streams. They were identified to genus level and submitted to gut content analysis, except for fluid feeders such as hemipterans, to which diet data was obtained from the literature. Trophic groups were determined based on a similarity analysis using the Bray-Curtis similarity coefficient. Results: Five trophic groups were defined: fine-detritivores (feed mostly on fine particulate organic matter - FPOM), coarse-detritivores/herbivores (feed mostly on coarse particulate organic matter - CPOM - and plant material), omnivores, specialist-predators (prey upon aquatic insects only), and generalist-predators. Ephemeroptera, Diptera (except Tanypodinae), Coleoptera, and Trichoptera (except Smicridea) were detritivores. The caddis Macronema (Trichoptera) fed exclusively on plant detritus and Tanypodinae and Smicridea were classified as omnivores. The odonate families Calopterygidae and Gomphidae were classified as specialist-predators, while Macrobrachium (Decapoda), Belostoma, and Limnocoris (Hemiptera) were generalist-predators. Conclusions: The great quantity and frequency of occurrence of FPOM consumed by most taxa highlight the importance of this food resource for macroinvertebrate communities from tropical streams. Furthermore, observed variations on trophic group assignment for some taxa indicate the generalist and opportunistic nature of these aquatic invertebrates. Such findings reinforce the importance of conducting gut content analysis on macroinvertebrates to understand their role in the structure and functioning of tropical streams.