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AQUATIC INSECTS OF PEATLANDS AND MARSHES IN CANADA: SYNTHESIS OF INFORMATION AND IDENTIFICATION OF NEEDS FOR RESEARCH

  • H.V. Danks (a1) and David M. Rosenberg (a2)

Abstract

Available information on the insect fauna of freshwater bogs, fens, and marshes is reviewed. These habitats are extensive and important in Canada. The fauna of marshes is diverse, and appears to consist chiefly of generally distributed lentic species. The fauna of bogs has some specialized elements, but most bog species are generalists. The fauna of Canadian fens is little known, but from limited data for a few groups appears to be moderately rich. Features expected in generalist and specialist species from peatlands and marshes are summarized, and the possible roles of insects in these ecosystems are outlined. Particular needs for future research include the following: careful definition of different kinds of wetland habitats; meticulous sampling of defined habitats to distinguish residents from incidental visitors; and detailed study of the life histories and habits of individual species. Further sampling, and studies of larvae, undoubtedly will increase the numbers of insects known from Canadian peatlands and marshes. About 4000 aquatic insect species are known from Canada. So far only 22% of the species in groups for which detailed information is available have been reported to occur in marshes, and only half as many in peatlands, even though some of the recorded species probably do not breed in all of the habitats from which they have been collected.

La communication comprend une revue de la documentation actuelle concernant les insectes des tourbières, tourbières minérotrophes et marais à eau douce. Au Canada, ces habitats occupent une grande superficie et présentent beaucoup d'importance. Les marais abritent une faune diversifiée, qui semble constituée principalement d'espèces lentiques que l'on retrouve dans tout le pays. Certains insectes des tourbières sont spécialisés, mais la plupart sont généralistes. La faune des tourbières minérotrophes canadiens est mal connue, mais à en juger par les rares données concernant quelques groupes elle présente une diversité moyenne. Les caractéristiques attribuées aux espèces spécialisées et généralistes des tourbières et des marais sont résumées et les rôles possibles des insectes dans ces écosystèmes sont brièvement décrits. La recherche future devra s'appliquer à définir soigneusement les divers types d'habitat humide, à échantillonner minutieusement chaque habitat, afin de distinguer les habitants des visiteurs occasionnels, et à étudier en détail le cycle vital et les habitudes de chaque espèce recensée. Les échantillonnages et l'étude des larves permettront certainement de trouver dans les tourbières et marais canadiens d'autres espèces. On compte au Canada près de 4000 espèces d'insectes aquatiques. à ce jour, seulement 22% des espèces appartenant à des groupes pour lesquels on dispose d'informations détaillées ont été trouvées dans les marais. Dans les tourbières, ce pourcentage diminue de moitié. En outre, certaines de ces espèces ne se reproduisent probablement pas dans tous les habitats où elles ont été recueillies.

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AQUATIC INSECTS OF PEATLANDS AND MARSHES IN CANADA: SYNTHESIS OF INFORMATION AND IDENTIFICATION OF NEEDS FOR RESEARCH

  • H.V. Danks (a1) and David M. Rosenberg (a2)

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