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Autecology of Rhabdolaimus Terrestris De Man- a Dominant Freshwater Nematode in an Oligotrophic Lake

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Despite the high abundance and number of species of nematodes in aquatic ecosystems the autecology of free-living freshwater nematodes is relatively unknown. Rhabdolaimus terrestris was the dominant of 120 examined species in Lake Königssee, with high abundance in the littoral of the lake. Thirty-seven percent and 56% of all R. terrestris were found in 2 m and 5 m water depth, respectively. The proportion of R. terrestris of the total nematode fauna was 80% at 2 m and 74% at 5 m water depth. The seasonal variation shows greater abundance of the species in the warmer season than in the colder months. The highest abundance (8868 individuals per 100 cm2) was found in 5 m water depth in July. The mean abundance of R. terrestris was 434, 2767 and 4193 ind./ 100 cm2 at 1, 2 and 5 m water depth, respectively. The mean biomass (fresh weight) was 0.037 mg/ 100 cm2 at 1 m, 0.231 mg/100 cm2 at 2 m and 0.339 mg/ 100 cm2 at 5 m water depth. Of the 22,899 individuals sampled 12,292 were females (53.7%) and 10,606 individuals were juveniles (46.3%). Only one male was found. The vertical distribution of the species shows that about 60% of all individuals inhabit the top 0-2 cm of the sediment. The proportion of females and juveniles differed significantly in the sediment layers.

Affiliations: 1: Zoologisches Institut der Universität München, Abteilung Limnologie, LuisenstraBe 14, D-80333 München, Germany


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