Contribution to the knowledge of the macroinvertebrate fauna of the streams of Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo
The Albertine Rift is one of Africa’s major biodiversity hotspots. However, the aquatic fauna of its western border in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remains understudied and poorly characterised. Kahuzi-Biega National Park (KBNP) in DRC is a crucial link for biodiversity conservation of this hotspot; however, scientific studies of this rich biodiversity are scarce because of insecurity and harsh field conditions. In the current study, benthic macroinvertebrates communities and some environmental conditions were investigated in 10 rivers in the KBNP. Eighty-four morphospecies, belonging to 47 families and 12 orders, were sampled from 13 sites. The abundance and diversity of taxa within systematic groups varied across the study area. Spatial distribution of systematic groups was also analysed. The high morphospecies richness, characterised by the number of families and Shannon’s and Simpson’s Diversity Indices, recorded at some sites was probably owing to the diversity of substratum and undisturbed environmental conditions observed in these forested rivers. Conversely, some sites presented lower species richness, possibly because of unfavourable natural conditions.
Keywords: aquatic insects, aquatic invertebrates, biotic indices, conservation ecology, species diversity indices, water quality