The distribution of Heterotrissocladius oliveri Saether (Diptera: Chironomidae) in Lake Michigan

TitleThe distribution of Heterotrissocladius oliveri Saether (Diptera: Chironomidae) in Lake Michigan
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1986
AuthorsWinnell MH, White DS

Fifty one chironomid species were identified from 504 samples collected at depths ranging 8 to 267 m in Lake Michigan, U.S.A. Heterotrissocladius oliveri Saether occurred in 32% of these samples and had an average abundance of 22 m2 which was similar to other estimates from the Great Lakes. Maximum average lake-wide density was at 30 to 60 m (41 m2). At depths >= 60 m, H. oliveri was the dominant chironomid species comprising 75% of total Chironomidae. The substrate preference of H. oliveri differed with each depth regime considered: at 30-60 m, 2-3 , at 60-120 m, 3-5, 7-9; and at 120-180 m, 6-8. Abundance was notably reduced at all depths in substrates characterized as medium silt (5-6). On a lakewide basis, the distribution pattern suggested H. oliveri was most numerous from 30 to 60 m along the southwestern, eastern, and northern shorelines and at 60-120 m depths along the southern and eastern shorelines. Increased abundance in the South Basin was concurrent with evidence of increased sedimentation at 60 to 100 m. However, in several other areas of the lake, high densities were associated with medium to very fine sands relatively free of silts and clays. This observation suggested occurrence of H. oliveri was minimally affected by sediment type. Widely variable, but generally elevated water temperatures likely prevent H. oliveri from establishing a substantial population density at depths < 30 m. With increased depth, temperature fluctuation is negligible and food is more stable, though the source is variable. Factors limiting abundance of H. oliveri at depths >= 30 m were related to decreased food supply due to distance from shore, food sources of lower value (clays), and, most importantly, to reproductive Although still oligotrophic in nature, high density occurrences in both high and low sedimentation areas of the lake suggest the trophic indicator status of H. oliveri might be broader than previously thought.