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08.09.2020 | Review Paper | Ausgabe 11-12/2020

Biodiversity and Conservation 11-12/2020

Value of artificial ponds for aquatic insects in drought-prone southern Africa: a review

Zeitschrift:
Biodiversity and Conservation > Ausgabe 11-12/2020
Autoren:
Michael J. Samways, Charl Deacon, Gabriella J. Kietzka, James S. Pryke, Carlien Vorster, John P. Simaika
Wichtige Hinweise
Communicated by Nigel E. Stork.
This article belongs to the Topical Collection: Biodiversity appreciation and engagement.

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

Artificial ponds assure continuous societal water supply, especially during droughts. Obligate aquatic and amphibiotic insects readily inhabit novel water bodies, as many possess mobility traits for opportunistic colonization. We review here the value of artificial ponds (< 2 ha) (and reservoirs; > 2 ha) for local aquatic insect diversity in mostly dry and drought-prone southern Africa. We compare these ponds to natural pools, wetlands, and stream deposition pools. The region has a highly varied topography and physiographical zones. Flat, arid areas largely support widespread insect generalists, while the mountainous orographic zones support an additional rich fauna of localized endemics. However, the many ponds (> 0.5 million) have greatly changed the local distribution patterns of surface freshwater across the region, increasing the area of occupancy for many aquatic insect species, especially dragonflies. We focus on the extent to which aquatic insect assemblages have benefitted from new ponds and reservoirs. We conclude that these novel ecosystems benefit almost all lentic aquatic insect species, while also enabling population resilience during droughts. However, while these benefits are substantial, these ponds are not a substitute for natural still waters, which are still required to maintain all indigenous lentic aquatic insect diversity.

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