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Status of aquatic insect (Insecta) communities in rivers flowing out of caves in northern Peninsular Malaysia

SUHAILA AB HAMID, AMILA FAQHIRA ZAINODIN, SITI HAMIDAH ISMAIL, NORSHAMIERA NORMI

Abstract


Aquatic insects from rivers that flow through the caves were collected and
examined to estimate their abundance and diversity. Five rivers in northern Peninsular Malaysia, Gua Wang Burma and Gua Kelam in Perlis, Gua Kerbau in Kedah, Gua Gendang and Gua Tempurung in Perak were selected for this study. Comparison of community abundances showed all rivers had moderate aquatic insects fauna of 5 to 7 orders, 6-31 families, 6-41 taxa and 204 to 585 individuals. Gua Kelam recorded the highest abundance (585 individuals) among all studied rivers. Gua Gendang contributed the highest diversity followed by Gua Kelam, Gua Tempurung, Gua Wang Burma and Gua Kerbau. The intolerant orders, Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera were rich and relatively diverse in all rivers except Gua Kerbau. Ephemeropterans such as Platybaetis and Baetis
(Baetidae) were the most abundant (38.4% and 31.8% respectively of 500 individuals) in aquatic insects community collected. Odonata was the diverse order with more than 10 taxa recorded. In general, the values of water parameters and scores of indices in all rivers fell within good ranges. Based on Canonical Correspondence Analysis, several physicochemicals water parameters such as ammonia-nitrogen, nitrate, total suspended
solids and orthophosphate positively influenced the abundance of some common genera in the rivers. The changes in the physicochemical parameters of the rivers that flow through the caves, caused by natural factors as well as ecotourism, have an effect on diversity and abundance of aquatic insect populations living within rivers that flow out of the cave system.

Keywords


Aquatic insects, caves, tropical rivers, water physicochemical, water quality

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