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vol.75 issue3  suppl.1A checklist for the zooplankton of the Middle Xingu – an Amazon River systemAdditional list of species of aquatic macrophytes in the lower basin of the Xingu River author indexsubject indexarticles search
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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 


Occurrence of Macrophytes species in the lower basin of the Xingu River

GR. Medeirosa 

JL. Rodrigues-Filhoa  * 

T. Matsmura-Tundisia 

JEM. Tundisia 

DS. Abea 

HA. Oliveiraa 

RM. Degania 

FP. Blancoa 

CRL. Fariaa 

L. Campanellia 

FS. Soaresa 

CV. Sidagis-Gallia 

V. Teixeira-Silvaa 

P. Gatti-Juniora 

JG. Tundisia 

aInternational Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, Rua Bento Carlos, 750, Centro, CEP 13560-660, São Carlos, SP, Brazil

The term ‘aquatic macrophytes’ refers to a diverse group of aquatic photosynthetic organisms, all large enough to see with the naked eye, being represented by seven plant divisions: Cyanobacteria, Chlorophyta, Rhodophyta, Xanthophyta, Bryophyta, Pteridophyta and Spermatophyta, consisting of at least 41 orders and 103 families (Chambers et al., 2008). This group colonizes many different types of aquatic ecosystems and this variety of environments results from a set of adaptive strategies achieved over evolutionary time (Thomaz and Cunha, 2010).

The aquatic macrophyte assemblage is usually composed of species with different life forms and this has been considered very important for maintaining the integrity of aquatic ecosystems (Boschilia et al., 2008). This community is highly productive in floodplains and their structure shows response closely linked to the flood pulse flood disturbance in these environments (Junk and Piedade, 1993).

The process of pulses occurring in Amazonian rivers reaches its greatest amplitude in the floodplain ecosystems (Tundisi, 2007). The variability generated by constant hydrological disturbance promotes new processes of ecological interactions (Junk et al., 1989), generating environmental fluctuations in space and time and providing conditions for the existence of a high diversity of species. These features are observed in the lower stretch of the Xingu River, where large uneven rapids, a series of anastomosing channels, and high amount of tributaries generate specific hydrological conditions and a broad regional limnological heterogeneity. Thus, this scientific note aims to list the species of macrophytes recorded in the Xingu River and tributaries that make up the middle section of the basin of the Xingu River along with 2 full hydrological cycles. This note is related to the large scale limnological survey that is carried out by International Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management in influence area of Belo Monte hydroelectric dam.

Between the years 2012 and 2013, 39 sampling stations were monitored quarterly in different types of environments in the riverine landscape, such as the main course of the Xingu River (XR), different lagoons (La), and affluents (Af) of the Xingu River (Figure 1). In these stations 106 species of aquatic macrophytes were registered, belonging to 33 families and 1 sub-family (Mimosaceae) (Table 1). The families with the highest species (spp.) richness were: Cyperaceae (35 spp.), Poaceae (17 ssp.), Podostemaceae (6 spp.), Pontederiaceae (5 spp.), Fabaceae (4 spp.) and Onagraceae (4spp.). In contrast, 17 families were represented only by one single species (Figure 1 and Table 1).

Figure 1 Location of sampling stations of macrophytes in the lower basin of the Xingu River. 

Table 1 Taxa and biological forms of macrophytes recorded in riverine landscapes of the Xingu River during two years of sampling. 

Taxa Biological
Lagoons Xingu
Ricciocarpus natans (L.) Corda Floating (free) X X
Azolla filiculoides Lam. Floating (free) X X X
Salvinia auriculata Aubl. Floating (free) X X X
Salvinia biloba D. Mitch. Floating (free) X
Echinodorus sp. Emergent X X
Echinodorus macrophyllus (Kunth) Micheli subsp. Scaber Emergent X
Eryngium sp. Amphibious X
Rhabdadenia pohlii Muell. Arg. Emergent X
Pistia stratiotes L. Floating (free) X X
Montrichardia linifera (Arruda) Schott Emergent X X X
Eclipta sp1. Amphibious X X X
Cabomba furcata Schult.&Schult. F. Submerged (prostrate) X
Chara sp. Submerged (prostrate) X
Commelinaceae sp. Emergent X X
Costus sp. Emergent X
Calyptrocarya longifolia (Rudge) Kunth. Amphibious X
Cyperus articulatus L. Amphibious X
Cyperus digitatus Roxb. Amphibious X
Cyperus distans L. Amphibious X
Cyperus esculentus L. Amphibious X X
Cyperus exaltatus Retz. Amphibious X
Cyperus giganteus Vahl Amphibious X X
Cyperus haspan L. Amphibious X
Cyperus iria L. Amphibious X X
Cyperus lanceolatus Poir. Amphibious X X
Cyperus laxus Lamarck Amphibious X
Cyperus luzulae (L.) Rottb. ex Retz. Amphibious X X X
Cyperus mundtii (Nees) Kunth. Amphibious X
Cyperus odoratus L. Amphibious X X X
Cyperus cf. prolixus Kunth. Amphibious X
Cyperus sphacelatus Rottb. Amphibious X X X
Cyperus surinamensis Rottb. Amphibious X X
Cyperus tenuis Sw. Amphibious X
Cyperus sp. Amphibious X X X
Eleocharis interstincta (Vahl) Roem. & Schult. Amphibious X
Eleocharis montana R.Br. Amphibious X
Eleocharis sp. Amphibious X X
Fimbristylis miliacea (L.) Vahl. Amphibious X X X
Fimbristylis dichotoma (L.) Vahl Amphibious X X
Fimbristylis sp. Amphibious X
Fuirena umbellata Rottb. Amphibious X
Oxycarium cubense (Poepp. & Kunth) Lye Emergent X X X
Oxycarium sp. Amphibious X
Pycreus aff. Polystachyos Amphibious X
Scleria gartneri Rad. Amphibious X X
Scleria mitis P.J. Bergius Amphibious X X
Scleria melaleuca Rchb. Amphibious X
Scleria microcarpa Nees ex Kunth Amphibious X
Scleria secans (L.) Urb. Amphibious X
Scleria sp. Amphibious X X X
Caperonia castaneifolia (L.) A. St.-Hill. Emergent X X X
Hydrilla sp. Submerged (prostrate) X
Hyptis lappaceae Benth. Amphibious X
Hyptis sp. Emergent X X X
Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Aeschynomene sp. Emergent X X X
Mimosa sp. Emergent X X
Acosmium nitens (Vogel) Yakovlev Emergent X
Mimosa pudica L. Emergent X X
Neptunia prostrata (Lam.) Baill. Floating (free) X
Lemna sp. Floating (free) X X X
Spirodela sp. Floating (free) X X
Utricularia sp. Submerged (free) X X
Utricularia foliosa L. Submerged (free) X X
Malvaceae sp1 Emergent X
Thalia geniculata L. Emergent X
Melastomataceae sp1 Emergent X
Nymphoides sp. Floating (prostrate) X
Najas guadalupensis (Spreng.) Magnus ssp. guadalupensis Submerged (prostrate) X
Nymphaea amazonum Mart. & Zucc. ssp amazonum Floating (prostrate) X
Nymphaea sp. Floating (prostrate) X X
Ludwigia leptocarpa (Nutt.) Hara Emergent X X X
Ludwigia hyssopifolia (G.Don) Excel Amphibious X X X
Ludwigia sp. Emergent X X X
Ludwigia helmintorrhiza (Mart.) Hara Floating (free) X
Ceratopteris sp. Emergent X X
Piperaceae sp1 Emergent X
Peperomia pellucida L. Emergent X
Andropogon bicornis L. Emergent X
Echinochloa polystachya (H.B.K) Hitchc. Amphibious X
Echinochloa crusgalii (L.)P.Beauv Emergent X X
Eragrostis glomerata (Walter) L.H. Dewey Amphibious X
Hymenachne amplexicaulis (Rudge) Nees Emergent X X X
Luziola subintegra Swallen Emergent X
Luziola sp. Emergent X
Oryza glumaepatula Steud. Emergent X X X
Oryza rufipogon Griff. Emergent X
Panicum elephantipes Nees ex Trin. Emergent X X
Panicum dichotomiflorum Michx. Emergent X
Panicum laxum Sw. Emergent X
Panicum mertensii Roth Emergent X X
Panicum sp. Emergent X X X
Paspalum fasciculatum Wild. Ex. Flueg. Emergent or Amphibious X X
Paspalum repens Berg. Emergent X X
Paspalum sp. Emergent X X X
Apinagia staheliana (Went) P. Royen Rheophyte X
Mourera fluviatilis Aubl. Rheophyte X
Mourera alcicornis (Tul.) P.Royen Rheophyte X
Weddellina squamulosa Tul. Rheophyte X
Castelnavia princeps Tul. & Wedd. Rheophyte X
Poligonum sp. Emergent X X X
Polygonum hydropiperoides Michx. Amphibious X
Eichhornia azurea (Sw.) Kunth Floating (prostrate) X X X
Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms Floating (free) X X X
Eichhornia diversiflora (Vahl) Urb. Floating (prostrate) X
Pontederia subovata (Seub.) Lowden Floating (prostrate) X
Diodia sp. Emergent X

Five biologic forms of macrophytes were recorded in riverine landscape, and those that had a greater number of species were amphibians (41 species), emergent (37 species) and floating (free: 10; prostrate: 6). Rheophyte and submerged, the others 2 forms registered, had 5 and 6 species, respectively.

In terms of environments analyzed, the Xingu River showed the highest richness in riverine landscape with 67 species identified. In lagoons and affluents 59 and 55 species were recorded, respectively (Table 1). Twenty species had high distribution, being registered in all environments analyzed (e.g Salviniaauriculata). On the other hand, 54 taxa occurred only in one type of enviromment (e.g Thaliageniculata L.) (Figure 1 and Table 1).

In the sampled stations on the Xingu River was possible to identify two different regions concerning the distribution of macrophytes, one located in the upstream, with rocky stretches and rapids, where predominated the species belonging to the Podostemaceae family, and another located downstream, with milder hydrological conditions and more backwaters, colonized by species such as Montrichardia linifera and Echinochloa polystachya. Among the species registered in the first region (upstream), it is worth mentioning the occurrence of Mourera fluviatilis, which appears in the list of endangered species of flora (Brasil, 2008).


The authors wish to express their thanks to Norte Energia S. A. forsupport and funding of the project. Also, Jorge Luiz Rodrigues-Filho would like to acknowledge Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP/Process nº 2013/19602-0) for Post-doctoral fellowship at International Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.

(With 1 figure)


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Received: February 06, 2014; Accepted: February 19, 2014


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