Publication details

Tolerance, optimum ranges and ecological requirements of free-living leech species (Clitellata: Hirudinida)



Year of publication 2014
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Fundamental and Applied Limnology, Archiv für Hydrobiologie
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Ecology
Keywords Hirudinida; cluster analysis;species optima;predictive models
Description Deep knowledge of the ecology of aquatic invertebrate species has always been essential background for water quality assessment and leeches (Clitellata: Hirudinida), which are at the top of the benthic invertebrate food chain, are hence a group of principal importance. To study the biological and habitat requirements of freeliving leeches, 109 sites of running and stagnant water were sampled in the Czech Republic, between 2007 and 2010. The morphological characteristics of the sampling site, chemical parameters of the water and climatic data were available for each site. Leeches were collected by hand, counted and identified. In total, seventeen species of genera Alboglossiphonia, Glossiphonia, Helobdella, Hemiclepsis, Theromyzon, Piscicola, Haemopis, Hirudo, Dina and Erpobdella were recorded. Environmental and species data were used in the analyses. The optima of twelve environmental variables for nine common species were compared using boxplots. The structure of the leech data set was recognised by cluster analysis, where eurytopic species formed a distinct group, well separated from all other species, which was further subdivided according to their ecology. Predictive models designed for seven of the leech species, revealed significant variables, which determined species occurrence and the extent of the effect of these variables. The most frequent significant variables were the type of habitat (lotic or lenitic) and the mean annual temperature.
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