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Potential use of anurans as indicators of biological quality in upstreams of central Italy

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The headwater streams of two basins in central Italy were sampled in randomly selected reaches (n = 59) to quantify tadpole occurrence. Environmental and physico-chemical data were collected for each reach. Macrobenthos were also sampled to obtain quantitative indices of biological quality (IBE and BMWP). A longitudinal zonation was evident for the three most common amphibian species found (Rana italica, Bufo bufo and Rana kl. esculenta, from higher to lower altitude). A good concordance was recorded between the occurence of single species, in this order, and a decreasing value of water quality as computed by BMWP. In both basins, the average BMWP and IBE scores for reaches where R. italica occurred alone corresponded to the standard judgement of 'excellent' to 'good' biological water quality. R. italica was suggested as a potential bioindicator for small headwater streams.


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