Date of this Version
Published in J Insect Conserv (2013) 11 pages. DOI: 10.1007/s10841-013-9570-z
The Platte River caddisfly (Ironoquia plattensis Alexander and Whiles 2000) was recently described from a warm-water slough along the Platte River in central Nebraska and was considered abundant at the type locality. Surveys of 48 sites in 1999 and 2004 found eight additional sites with this species on the Platte River. The caddisfly was not found at the type locality in 2004 and one additional site in 2007, presumably because of drought conditions. Because of its apparent rarity and decline, the Platte River caddisfly is a Tier I species in Nebraska. For this project, surveys for the caddisfly were conducted at 113 new and original sites primarily along the Platte, Loup, and Elkhorn Rivers between 2009 and 2011. These surveys identified 30 new sites with the caddisfly. Larval densities were quantified at a subset of inhabited sites, and there was a large variation of densities observed. Seven sites on other Nebraska drainages were found to support morphologically similar caddisflies, presumably the Platte River caddisfly. Because of the discovery of populations outside the Platte River drainage, amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) was used to determine the amount of genetic variability and breeding among sites on the Platte, Loup, and Elkhorn Rivers. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) suggested moderate gene flow among the three river systems and that there was more genetic variation within populations than between populations. Differentiation, but not total divergence, was exhibited by the northernmost population from the Elkhorn River. Because it may be considered an indicator species and is vulnerable to ongoing habitat loss and degradation, all Platte River caddisfly populations should be conserved.