Does the landscape surrounding streams affect the occurrence of freshwater crabs? A case study of the genus Aegla (Crustacea: Decapoda: Anomura) in subtropical basins

Rodrigo Fornel

Resumo


Changes in the landscape where watersheds are located may affect the stream biota in different ways. In order to explore this idea, we collected freshwater crabs of the genus Aegla in subtropical region of southern Brazil. We also measured a number of landscape features and physico-chemical variables in the collection streams and surroundings in order to ascertain which factors affect the occurrence of these crustaceans. A total of 167 individuals of Aegla were collected in 21 streams. The collection was comprised of three species: A. odebrechtii, A. platensis, and A. singularis. The occurrence of A. platensis was influenced by physico-chemical variables (total carbon and total organic carbon) and stream morphometry factors (level curves sum). The occurrence of A. singularis was influenced by land use (pasture and exposed soil and agriculture) and the stream morphometry (level curves sum). Only a small number of A. odebrechtii were collected and their occurrence was influenced by land use (pasture and exposed soil and agriculture). The topography of the area studied limits the types of land use and areas that are less favorable for agriculture (more hilly areas) are have more riparian vegetation (or less anthropic stress). As a result, these areas are less subject to changes in water quality, which is reflected in the distribution of Aegla species.



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