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Brazilian Journal of Biology

Print version ISSN 1519-6984On-line version ISSN 1678-4375

Braz. J. Biol. vol.75 no.3 supl.1 São Carlos Aug. 2015 


A checklist for the zooplankton of the Middle Xingu – an Amazon River system

Diversidade zooplanctônica do médio Rio Xingu – bacia amazônica

SAC. Britoa 

M. Camargob  * 

NFAC. Meloc 

RA. Estupiñanb 

aGoverno do Pará, Secretaria de Estado de Educação – SEDUC, Rodovia Augusto Montenegro, Km 10, Icoaraci, Belém, PA, Brazil

bInstituto Federal de Educação Ciência e Tecnologia da Paraíba – IFPB, Campus Cabedelo, Rua Santa Rita de Cássia, s/n, Jardim Camboinha, CEP 58103-772, Cabedelo, PB, Brazil

cLaboratório de Ecologia Aquática e Aqüicultura Tropical, Universidade Federal Rural da Amazônia – UFRA, Avenida Perimetral, 2501, Terra Firme, CEP 66077-530, Belém, PA, Brazil


A zooplankton checklist is presented for the Middle Xingu River, based on surveys conducted at four sites in the main channel and two fluvial lakes. A total of 175 taxa are listed, including 141 rotifers, 20 cladocerans, and five copepods. Rapids presented the greatest species richness, with up to 124 taxa, while Ilha Grande lake had 70 taxa, the lowest number. Non-planktonic benthic larvae were recorded frequently in the samples.

Keywords:  clear water rivers; zooplankton; fluvial habitats; limnology


Levantamentos realizados em dois lagos e no canal principal do médio Xingu objetivaram a listar a diversidade do zooplâncton. De um total de 175 táxons, 141 foram rotíferos, 20 cladóceros e 5 copépodes. As corredeiras foram os ambientes mais diversos com 124 táxons, enquanto que no Lago da Ilha Grande se registraram somente setenta táxons. Destaca-se a ocorrência de grupos de hábito não planctônico na coluna d’água do rio que indica o efeito perturbador da correnteza.

Palavras-chave:  águas claras amazônicas; zooplâncton; ambientes fluviais; limnologia

1 Introduction

Many inventories of the zooplankton diversity of the rivers of the Amazon basin are available, especially for the principal, white- and black-water tributaries. The principal studies have focused on the marginal várzea lakes of the Amazon and Negro floodplains (see Robertson and Hardy, 1984; Koste and Robertson, 1990; Brandorff, 1973; Brandorff and Andrade, 1978; Koste and Robertson, 1983; Carvalho, 1983; Hardy, 1980; Hardy et al., 1984; Robertson and Hardy, 1984; Santos-Silva et al., 1989; Waichman et al., 2002). However, studies of the composition of the zooplankton of clear-water rivers are scarce. The available studies include those of Bozelli (1992, 1994) and Bozelli et al. (2000) in the region of the Trombetas River, Koste (1972, 1974a,b; 1989) on the Tapajós, and Brandorff et al. (1982) on the lower Nhamundá River. Given this, the present study provides a checklist of the zooplankton of two fluvial lakes and four sites in the main channel of the middle Xingu, a clear-water river in the southeastern Amazon basin.

2 Material and Methods

2.1 Study area

The present study was conducted along a 180 km stretch of the middle Xingu River in Pará, in the eastern Brazilian Amazon basin (Figure 1). This region is characterized by numerous waterfalls and rapids, as well as extensive areas of alluvial rainforest (Camargo et al., 2005).

Figure 1 Map of the region with the localities in the main channel and island lakes. 

The climate of the study area is of Köppen’s A type, with variants Aw and Am (Critchfield, 1968). Mean annual temperatures in the study area oscillate between 17.5 °C and 24.5 °C, with relative humidity of 84-86%. Mean annual precipitation varies from 2066.8 mm to 2379.4 mm (Camargo et al., 2005).

Six environments were monitored in the present study. Two were located in lakes on river islands (Ilha Grande and Pimentel) and the other four (Boa Esperança, Arroz Cru, Caitucá and CNEC) in the main Xingu River. Ilha Grande lake (3°34’47”S, 52°23’42”W) is semi-circular, with a depth of 0.5-2.5 m, and a total area of approximately 15,612 m2. The bed of this lake is covered in slimy silt, sand, and leaf litter derived from the island’s dense alluvial rainforest, and high concentrations of phytoplankton were associated with the reduced Secchi transparency (0.8-1.1 m) and high levels of dissolved oxygen (DO: 5.0-7.5 mg.l-1), and the slightly acid water (pH = 5.9-6.7) with low conductivity, of 30 (Estupiñan and Camargo, 2008). The second lake, Pimentel (3°25’46” S, 52º24’4” W), located on the river’s Great Bend, is elliptical in shape, with a mean surface area of 1570 m2, depths of between 0.8 and 3.0 m, with low pH (5.0-5.4) and Secchi transparency (0.90 0.98 m), and low DO (2 mg.L-1) and reduced levels of chlorophyll, which determine its low levels of primary productivity (Estupiñan and Camargo, 2008). During the rainy season, the forest is flooded by the creeks that drain the area surrounding the lakes.

On the river margin, Boa Esperança (3°34’46” S, 52°24’42” W) is located in the vicinity of Ilha Grande (Figure 1), while Arroz Cru (3°34’46” S, 52°24’42” W) is near Pimentel Island. The Caitucá marginal site (3°33’47” S, 51°24’42” W) is located in the large river bend (Cotubelo) deflection (Estupinãn and Camargo, 2008). The CNEC site (3°16’16” S, 51°24’42” W) is upstream from the larger waterfalls before the lower Xingu River. The pH of the river varied from 6.4 to 7.6 and conductivity was low (20-31 which, together with the DO concentrations of 7.1-8.6 mg.L-1 indicate highly that the water is highly oxygenated (Estupinãn and Camargo, 2008).

Every two months between August 2006 and June 2007, four zooplankton samples were collected at the surface and middle depths of the two lakes (Ilha Grande, Pimentel), while two angular sub-surface samples were collected from four stretches of the main channel of the Xingu River (Figure 1). The samples were collected with a 40 μ mesh plankton net equipped with a digital flowmeter in the river and by filtering 400 liters of water into a bucket in the lakes. The specimens collected were fixed and preserved in 4% formalin. Sorting and identification of specimens were carried out with a Wild-Leitz stereo-zoom dissecting microscope. Identification of the specimens was based on Cipólli and Carvalho (1973), Koste (1978), Paggi (1979), Robertson (1980), Brandorff et al. (1982), Koste and Robertson (1983), Koste et al. (1984), Reid (1985), Magalhães et al. (1988), Robertson et al. (1989), Santos-Silva et al. (1989), Koste and Robertson (1990), Korovchinsky (1992), Smirnov (1992), Paggi (1995), Segers (1995), Elmoor-Loureiro (1997), and Fernando (2002).

3 Results

This study recorded a total of 175 taxa, comprising 141 rotifers (80.6%), 20 cladocerans (11.4%), five copepods (2.9%), and nine (5.1%) bottom-dwelling protozoans, gastrotrichs and insects (Tables 1 and 2). In general, the fluvial habitats were the most diverse. The richness of taxa varied from 70 in Ilha Grande lake to 124 in the rapids. Despite being much smaller than Ilha Grande lake, Pimentel lake had a relatively high richness, with a total of 114 taxa.

Table 1 Zooplankton species recorded in different environments of the Middle Xingu River (2006-2007). 

Group Habitat Environments and habitats
Island lakes Main channel
Ilha Grande Pimental Rapids Flow restricted waters
Ascomorpha ecaudis (Perty, 1850) Pl X X
Ascomorpha saltans (Bartsch, 1870) Pl X X
Ascomorpha sp. Pl X
Gastropus hyptopus (Ehrenberg, 1838) NDT X X
Gastropus stylifer Imhof, 1891 NDT X
Gastropus sp. NDT X
Asplanchna priodonta Gosse, 1850 Pl X X
Asplanchna sieboldi (Leydig, 1845) Pl X
Asplanchna silvestri Daday, 1902 Pl X
Asplanchna sp. Pl X X X X
Harringia sp. NDT X
Anuraeopsis fissa (Gosse, 1851) Pl X X X X
Anuraeopsis navicula Rousselet, 1910 Pl X X X
Anuraeopsis siolliKoste, 1972 Pl X
Brachionus ahlstromi (Lindeman, 1939) Pl X X
Brachionus angularis Gosse, 1851 Pl X X X X
Brachionus calyciflorus Pallas, 1866 Pl X X
Brachionus caudatus Barrois and Daday, 1894 Pl X X X X
Brachionus dolabratus Harring, 1915 Pl X X X X
Brachionus falcatus Zacharias, 1898 Pl X X X X
Brachionus gessneri Hauer, 1956 Pl X X X X
Brachionus mirabilis (Daday, 1897) Pl X
Brachionus mirus Dady, 1905 Pl X X X X
Brachionus patullus (Müller, 1953) Pl X X X
Brachionus quadridentatus Hermann, 1783 NP X X X X
Brachionus zahniseri Ahlstrom, 1934 Pl X X X X
Keratella americana Carlin, 1943 Pl X X X X
Keratella cochlearis Gosse, 1851 Pl X X X X
Keratella lenzi Hauer, 1953 Pl X X X X
Keratella nhamunda (Koste and Robertson, 1983) Pl X
Notholca sp. NDT X
Plathyias quadricornis Daday, 1905 NP X X
Squatinella sp. NDT X
Cephalodella gibba (Ehrenberg, 1838) NP X X
Cephalodella intuta Myers, 1924 NP X X X X
Cephalodella mucronata Myers, 1924 NP
Cephalodella sp. NP X X X
Collotheca ambigua (Hudson, 1883) NP X X
Collotheca tenuilobata (Anderson, 1889) NP X X X
Collotheca sp1. NDT X X X X
Collotheca sp2. NDT X X X
Stephanoceros fimbriatus (Goldfuss, 1820) NP X X
Conochilus dossuaris (Hudson, 1875) NDT X X
Epiphanes clavatula (Ehrenberg, 1832) Pl X
Epiphanes macrourus (Barrois and Daday, 1894) Pl X X X X
Microcodides chlaena Gosse, 1886 NDT X X
Euchlanis dilatata Ehrenberg, 1832 NP X X
Euchlanis incisa Carlin, 1939 NP X
Dipleuchlanis propatula (Gosse, 1886) NP X X X
Filinia longiseta (Ehrenberg, 1834) Pl X X X X
Filinia opoliensis (Zacharias, 1898) Pl X X X X
Filinia pejleri Hutchinson, 1964 Pl X X X X
Filinia sp. NDT X X
Hexarthra intermedia Wieszniewski, 1929 Pl X X X X
Lecane arcuata (Ryce, 1891). NP X
Lecane arculeata (Akubski, 1912). NP X
Lecane bulla (Gosse, 1886) Pl/NP X X X
Lecane clara (Bryce, 1892) NP X
Lecane closterocerca (Schmarda, 1856) NP X X X X
Lecane copeis (Harring and Myers, 1926) NP X X
Lecane curvicornis (Murray, 1913) Pl X X X X
Lecane hamata (Stockes, 1896) NP X X X
Lecane hornemanni (Ehrenberg, 1834) NP X X
Lecane leontina (Turner, 1892) NP X X X
Lecane ludwigi (Eckstein, 1883) NP X X X
Lecane luna (O. F. Müller, 1776) NP X X
Lecane lunaris Ehrenberg, 1832 NP X X X
Lecane monostyla (Daday, 1897) Pl/NP X X
Lecane murrayi (Hauer, 1965) NP X
Lecane nodosa (Hauer, 1937/38) NP X X
Lecane obtusa (Murray, 1913) NP X X
Lecane opias Harring and Myers, 1926 NP X
Lecane papuana Murray, 1913 NP X X X
Lecane proiecta (Hauer, 1956) NP X X X X
Lecane pyriformis (Daday, 1905) NP X X
Lecane ruttneri Hauer, 1938 NP X
Lecane signifera (Jennings, 1896) NP X X X
Lecane stichaea Harring, 1913 NP X X
Lecane ungulata (Gosse, 1887) NP X
Lecane sp1. NDT X X X
Lecane sp2. NDT X X X
Lecane sp3. NDT X X
Colurella uncinata (O.F. Muller, 1773) NP X X
Colurella sp. NP X X X
Lepadella amphitropis Harring, 1916 NP X X
Lepadella benjamini Harring, 1916 NP X
Lepadella costata Wulfert, 1940 NP X
Lepadella cristata (Rousselet, 1893) NP X
Lepadella donneriKoste, 1972 NP X
Lepadella elliptica (Turner, 1892) NP X
Lepadella latusinus Myers, 1934 NP X X X
Lepadella patella (O. F. Müller, 1786) NP X X X X
Lepadella rhomboides (Gosse, 1886) NP X X
Lepadella sp. NDT X X X
Paracolurella logima (Myers, 1934) NP X
Macrochaetus collinsi (Gosse, 1867) NP X X X
Macrochaetus sericus (Thorpe, 1893) NP X
Macrotrachela zickendrahti (Richters, 1902) NDT X
Trichotria tetractis (Ehrenberg, 1830) NDT X X X
Trichotria sp. NDT X
Monommata arndti Remane, 1933 NP X
Monommata maculata Harring and Myers, 1924 NP X
Eosphora anthadis (Harring and Myers, 1922) NP X X
Mytilina macrocera (Jennings, 1894) NP X
Mytilina mucronata (Müller, 1773) NP X
Mytilina ventralis (Ehrenberg, 1832) N X
Mytilina sp. NDT X X X
Ploesoma lenticulare Herrick, 1885 Pl/NP X
Ploesoma sp. Pl/NP X
Polyarthra remata Skorikov, 1896 Pl X X X
Polyarthra vulgaris Carlin, 1943 Pl X X X X
Proales sp. Pl X X X X
Synchaeta stylata Wierzejski, 1893 NP X X
Synchaeta sp. NP X
Ptygura libera Myers, 1934 NP X X X X
Ptygura melicerta Ehrenberg, 1832 NP X X
Ptygura sp. NP X X
Sinantherina sp. NDT
Testudinela ahlstromi (Hauer, 1956) NP X X X
Testudinela ohlei (Koste, 1972) NP X X X
Testudinela patina (Hermann, 1783) NP X X X
Testudinela semiparva (Ternetz, 1892) NP X
Testudinela tridentata Smirnov, 1931 NP X X
Testudinela sp. NDT X X X X
Trichocerca agnatha Wulfert, 1939 NP X
Trichocerca bicristata (Gosse, 1887) NP X X X X
Trichocerca bidens (Lucks, 1912) NP X X X
Trichocerca capucina Wierzejski and Zacharias, 1893 NP X X X X
Trichocerca chattoni (Beauchamp, 1907) NP X X X X
Trichocerca collaris (Rousselet, 1896) NP X X X
Trichocerca gracilis (Tessin, 1890) NP X X X
Trichocerca insiginis (Herrich, 1885) NP X X X X
Trichocerca longiseta (Schrank, 1802) Pl X X X
Trichocerca myersi (Hauer, 1931) NP X X X
Trichocerca pusilla (Lauterborn, 1898) NP X X X X
Trichocerca rousseleti (Voigt, 1901) NP X
Trichocerca similis (Wierzejski, 1893) Pl X X X X
Trichocerca stylata (Gosse, 1851) NP X X
Trichocerca tigris (O.F.M., 1786) NP X
Trichocerca sp1. Pl/NP X X X
Trichocerca sp2. Pl/NP X X X
Acroperus sp. NP X
Alona cambouei Guerne and Richard, 1893 NP X
Alona guttata Sars, 1862 NP X
Alona poppei Richard, 1897 NP X X
Alona sp. NP X X
Alonella dadayi Birge, 1910 NP X X X
Alonella sp1. NP X X
Alonella sp2. NP X
Disparalona hamata (Birge, 1879) NP
Pleuroxus sp. NP X
Bosmina hagmanni Stingelin, 1904 Pl X X X
Bosmina longirostris (O.F. Mueller, 1785) Pl X X X X
Bosminopsis deitersi Richard, 1834 Pl X X X X
Ceriodaphnia cornuta (Sars, 1886) Pl X X
Ilyocryptus spinifer (Herrich, 1884) NP X X
Macrothrix spinosa King, 1853 NP X
Macrothrix superculeata Baird, 1843 NP X X X
Macrothrix sp1. NP
Macrothrix sp2. NP X
Moina minuta Hansen, 1899 Pl X X
Copepodito Pl X X X X
Náuplio Pl X X X X
Argyrodiaptomus sp. Pl X X
Notodiaptomus sp1. Pl X X X X
Notodiaptomus sp2. Pl X X X
Thermocyclops sp1. Pl X
Thermocyclops sp2. Pl X
Centropyxis spp. X X X
Euglypha spp. X X X X
Vorticella spp. X X X X
Família Chaetonotidae X
Acaro X X X X
Chaoboridae Famíly (larvae) X X X X
Chironomidae Famíly (larvae) X X X
Odonata X X X X
Unionicola spp. X X

Pl = planktonic, NP = not planktonic, NDT = non determined.

Table 2 Number of genera and taxa within zooplankton groups for the midd Xingu river habitats. 

Group Genera Taxa
Monogononta 38 141
Bdelloidea - 1
Cyclopoida 1 2
Calanoida 2 3
Total 52 166

The Rotifera was the most diverse group, accounting for approximately 80% of total taxon richness in each of the study environments (Table 1). Much less diverse were the Cladocera, with around 8% of the taxa, and the Calanoida and Copepoda, each with approximately 2% (Table 1).

Most of the rotifers (19.86%) belonged to the family Lecanidae. Brachionus calyciflorus, Pallas, 1866; Testudinela tridentata Smirnov, 1931; Lecane murrayi (Hauer, 1965), and Ilyocryptus spinifer (Herrich, 1884) all occurred exclusively in the main channel, whereas Brachionus mirabilis (Daday, 1897), Gastropus stylifer Imhof, 1891; Trichocerca rousseleti (Voigt, 1901), and Macrothrix superculeata Baird, 1843 were found only in the lakes.

4 Discussion

The rotifers were the most diverse group of zooplankton recorded in the present study on the middle Xingu River in the southeastern Amazon basin, with approximately 80% of the organisms found in each study environment. A similar pattern has been recorded in the aquatic systems of white- (77%) and black-water (40%) rivers in the Amazon basin (Table 3), as well as other systems (see Green, 1972; Dumont, 1983; Neves et al., 2003; Paggi and José de Paggi, 1990; Sampaio and López, 2000).

Table 3 Taxonomic richness for the zooplankton of different Amazon environments. 

Environment Water category Rotifera Cladocera Copepoda Main source
Amazon-Solimões system Whites 110 17 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Calado Lake Whites 8 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Camaleão Lake Whites 175 Koste et al. (1984)
Castanho Lake Whites 16 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Jacaretinga Lake Whites 12 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Redondo Lake Whites 5 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Manacuri Lake Whites 16 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Branco river Whites 11 1 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Madeira river Whites 60 7 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Maracá-Roraima Island Whites 159 Koste and Robertson (1990)
Cuiabá river
marginal lakes
Whites 79 30 6 Neves et al. (2003)
Acre river
Amapá lake, Pirapora lake
Whites 38 6 2 Keppeler (2003)
Amapá lake Whites 30 5 3 Keppeler and Hardy (2004)
Negro river Blacks 50 7 18 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Cristalino lake Blacks 6 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Tarumã-Mirim lake Blacks 12 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Guedes lake Blacks 7 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Caju lake Blacks 5 Robertson and Hardy |(1984)
Prato lake Blacks 3 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Utinga-Pará system
Bolonha lake
Blacks 30 19 7 Melo et al. (2006)
Tapajós river Clears 127 8 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Paroni lake Clears 76 Koste (1974a)
Tocantins river Clears 21 5-7 14 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Tauá lake Clears 6 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Paulo pool Clears 3 Robertson and Hardy (1984)
Lower Nhamundá river Clears 145 Brandorff et al. (1982)
Trombetas river
Macaco lake
Clears 48 Koste (1989)
Batata lake (impacted by bauxite waste) Clears 98 10 7 Bozelli et al. (2000)
Xingu river
(lentic waters / rapids)
Clears 55-87 10-16 1-2 This study
Ilha Grande lake Clears 56 6 3 This study
Pimental kake Clears 97 5 4 This study

The distinct composition of the zooplankton found in the two lakes studied here reflect their different limnological characteristics, such as the much larger surface area of the Ilha Grande lake in comparison with Pimentel, which in turn is subject to a considerable input of organic matter from the surrounding forest, which also shelters the lake from the sun. Pimentel lake is also connected more extensively to the main river, with the water being filtered by the surrounding forest before draining into the lake (Estupiñan and Camargo, 2008). The considerable phytoplankton biomass and high primary productivity recorded in Ilha Grande lake (Costa et al., 2008) may have determined the low zooplankton richness recorded in this lake. The higher zooplankton diversity recorded in Pimentel lake appears to have been related to specific characteristics of this environment, such as the low current velocity, given that reproductive populations of planktonic organisms are restricted to the slow-flowing lower reaches of these areas (Ward, 1994).


The present study was supported by the project “A trophic model for the management of the middle Xingu River”, financed by ANEL. The authors wish to thank the anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier version of this paper.

(With 1 figure)


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Received: March 11, 2015; Accepted: May 22, 2015

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