Habitat preference of benthic macroinvertebrates in highland rivers of Ethiopia
Study on microhabitat preference of Benthic Macroinvertebrate (BMI) was conducted on two rivers (Meribo and Leliso) in Ethiopia. Sample was collected in post rainy season, October 2010 with objectives to document taxa-habitat relationship of less affected rivers in relation to substrate type. After ecological integrity assessment, a stretch of the rivers were selected and substrate specific BMI samples were collected from the available in-stream habitats using hand net of 500 µm mesh size. Twenty one out of 38 taxa were subjected to statistical analysis and found all taxa, except Baetidae and Chironomidae, showed clear narrow range of habitat preference when analyzed with PCORD5 (final stress=15.68). However Baetidae and Chironomidae did not show clear preference to substrate which could be due to their taxonomic diversity and wide range of adaptability. Mud & sand, microhabitat and megalithal were preferred by few taxa whereas majority of the BMI taxa preferred macrolithal, mesolithal, woody debris, microlithal and roots. Therefore, river modification, climate change, and other anthropogenic impacts that have access to modify these in-stream microhabitats could highly affect the BMI diversity. In conclusion this work will help as reference document for the future study.