Diversity of Bromeliad Associated Invertebrates in a Submontane Rainforest of Northern Ecuador
Walton, Nathaniel J.
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Twenty plants from the Bromeliaceae family were collected from primary submontane forest in Northern Ecuador. All macro invertebrates (larger than 2mm) inhabiting the phytotelmata of each plant were collected, counted, and classified by morphospecies. Amount of water in the plant, size of the plant, number of leaves, and plant location were measured and used in statistical analyses of the influence of physical variables on diversity of the invertebrate communities. Nine hundred eighty-seven total invertebrates from 185 different morphospecies were collected. Invertebrate abundance was found to increase significantly with bromeliad size, whereas species richness and the Shannon-Weiner diversity index (H) increased significantly with the number of leaves. There were no significant differences in the invertebrate community parameters between canopy and understory bromeliads or between bromeliads from two different forest types. Implications for rainforest conservation and for research in tropical phytotelmata and invertebrate leaf litter communities are discussed.