, Volume 73, Issue 5, pp 493–503 | Cite as

Alderfly assemblages (Megaloptera, Sialidae) along an oligotrophic karst hydrosystem: spatial patterns and species-environment relationship

  • Marina Vilenica
  • Vlatka Mičetić Stanković
  • Zlatko Mihaljević
  • Mladen Kučinić
Original Article


Even though alderflies, as well as many other aquatic macroinvertebrates, are widely used as indicators of freshwater quality, the knowledge of their distribution, biology and ecology in karst freshwater habitats is still very scarce. Aiming to fill this gap, we investigated alderfly assemblages along an oligotrophic karst hydrosystem. Sampling was carried out on a monthly basis over a one-year period (2007/2008) in different types of freshwater habitats and microhabitats. Our goals were to determine population aspects, habitat and microhabitat preferences of alderflies as well as their relation to environmental factors. Due to the specificity of karst freshwater habitats, alderflies were rather rare in the studied hydrosystem. Yet, their fauna was diverse with four identified species, where Sialis fuliginosa Pictet, 1836 was the most widespread one. Sialis sordida (Klingstedt, 1932) was recorded for the first time in the Balkan Peninsula being the rarest species in our study. Substrate type and water velocity showed as key environmental parameters in determining alderfly assemblages. Alderflies were mostly recorded from a canyon type mountainous stream, and silt with leaf litter, respectively. They were not recorded at sites characterized by predominately solid stones (i.e. cobbles) and mosses, and with intermittent water flow. Our results strongly indicate that alderflies could be used in future conservation and protection management procedures in karst freshwater habitats.


Sialis New records Karst Environmental factors Microhabitats 



This study in Plitvice Lakes NP was conducted with permission from the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection of the Republic of Croatia (RN: 532-08-02-1/7-06-3; 532-08-02-1/7-06-3). The study is a result of projects No. 119-1193080-1206 (PL: Mladen Kučinić) and No. 119-1193080-3076 (PL: Mladen Kerovec) supported by the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports and University of Zagreb. The authors would like to thank Prof. dr. Mladen Kerovec for his financial support. Assoc. Prof. dr. Petar Kružić, Dr. Igor Stanković, Dr. Sanja Sviben, Andreja Komljenović, Martina Krbavčić, Sanja Žalac, Bruno Polak and Matija Šimac are thanked for their indispensable assistance during the field investigations. Many thanks are due to Mr. Ivančica Krulik, Mirjana Jelenčić and Dr. Sanja Sviben for help with sorting the collected material. We thank Miran Katar for helping us with the artwork. Many thanks to the University of Zagreb and Plitvice Lakes NP staff. Finally, we would like to thank the reviewers for their useful suggestions that markedly improved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Institute of Zoology, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Teacher EducationUniversity of ZagrebPetrinjaCroatia
  2. 2.Croatian Natural History MuseumZagrebCroatia
  3. 3.Faculty of Science, Department of BiologyUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia

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