Benthic Chironomidae were studied in two shallow, brackish, eutrophic wetlands in Alicante province in eastern Spain (Levante lake in El Hondo Natural Park and Múrtulas ponds in Santa Pola Natural Park). Core samples were taken monthly from eight points in each site from March to August 1999. Levante was more eutrophic, less saline, and held more and larger chironomid larvae than Múrtulas. Larvae of six taxa were identified at Levante and five at Múrtulas. Chironomus aprilinus and C. salinarius morphotypes dominated at Levante, whereas Tanytarsus spp. and C. salinarius dominated at Múrtulas. In generalized linear models, there were significant effects of site, month, and site X month interactions on larval size at both family and taxon levels. On average, C. salinarius larvae were larger at MUR, probably due to a lower proportion of smaller instars and lower growth rates. Although the overall trend was for a reduction in mean larval size over time in both wetlands, mean size peaked in March at Levante and in May at Múrtulas.
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Vol. 25 • No. 2