CEPF Western Ghats Special Series: Metazoan community composition in tree hole aquatic habitats of Silent Valley National Park and New Amarambalam Reserve Forest of the Western Ghats, India

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K.A. Nishadh
K.S.A. Das


In a study of the metazoan community composition in tree hole aquatic habitat of a tropical rainforest, Silent Valley National Park, and the adjacent moist deciduous forest, New Amarambalam Reserve Forest, of the Western Ghats, 28 different species were recorded from 150 tree hole aquatic habitats with an average of 3-5 species per tree hole. Most of the recorded organisms (96.8%) belong to Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), Heteroptera (bugs), Diptera (flies), Coleoptera (beetles) and Trichoptera (caddisflies). The study reports the first record of toe-winged beetle larvae (Ptilodactylidae) in a tree hole aquatic habitat. The most significant observation is the prolific occurrence of trichopteran larvae as the second most abundant taxa in tree holes of Silent Valley National Park, and this stands as the first comprehensive record of the entire order in the habitat studied. The study upholds the importance of less explored microhabitats in the Western Ghats region in terms of sustaining unique community composition in the most delicate and extreme habitat conditions. It also puts forward important ecological research questions on biodiversity ecosystem functionality which could impart important lessons for managing and conserving the diminishing tropical evergreen forests which are significant for these unique habitats.

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