Vallisneria aethiopica and Lagarosiphon ilicifolius are common and abundant submerged macrophytes in Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe. The two species have distinct structural morphologies, with Vallisneria consisting of long ribbon-like leaves, while Lagarosiphon has
filiform stems with numerous small alternate leaves. This study investigated the effect of these architectural differences between the two plant species on their epiphytic macroinvertebrate assemblages in the shallow inshore waters of Lake Kariba. Ten sites were sampled on three occasions
between May and July 2005. A total of 56 macroinvertebrate taxa was collected, 48 from Lagarosiphon and 45 from Vallisneria. Generally, the two plant species were associated with similar macroinvertebrate communities, but the average abundances of most taxa, and thus the overall
macroinvertebrate abundances, were significantly greater on Lagarosiphon. The main macroinvertebrate functional feeding groups found on both plant species were collector-gatherers, grazers and predators, all of which were significantly more abundant on Lagarosiphon. Although
the macroinvertebrate assemblages associated with Vallisneria and Lagarosiphon generally consisted of the same taxa, there were distinct and significant differences between them, probably due to the architectural differences between the two submerged macrophytes.
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Document Type: Research Article
University of Zimbabwe, Lake Kariba Research Station, PO Box 48Kariba, Zimbabwe
Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science,Rhodes University, PO Box 94Grahamstown,6140, South Africa
Freshwater Research Unit, Department of Zoology,University of Cape Town, Rhodes Gift,7707, South Africa
Publication date: 2012-11-01
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