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Ecology of the malacostracans of northern Chilean inland waters

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The northern Chilean (18-27°S) inland waters have been poorly studied, because of difficulties in accessing the area, and the aquatic fauna is sculpted by the high conductivity. The few studies that are available are based on fragmented information on shallow mountain ponds associated with saline deposits (“salares”), and shallow ponds and the Loa river. The aim of the present study is provide a review of the malacostracan ecology of northern Chilean inland waters. The information of shallow mountain ponds and lagoons reveals the presence of the amphipods Hyalella fossamanchini and H. kochi. They are only found at low salinity levels (<3 g/l), although a different situation was observed for Loa river, which has low abundance populations of the northern Chilean river prawn Cryphiops caementarius and the amphipods H. fossamanchini and H. kochi. However the first species is scarce due excessive fisheries activities and habitat fragmentation, whereas there are no studies about amphipods populations. Nevertheless in Loa river these species can be an important prey for introduced salmonids (Oncorhynchus mykiss and Salmo trutta). Similar patterns were observed for other comparable ecosystems in the Andes mountains of Argentina and Peru.

Affiliations: 1: 3Escuela de Acuicultura, Facultad de Recursos Naturales, Universidad Católica de Temuco, Casilla 15-D, Temuco, Chile


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