We report the results of a study carried out in 2002 on the main limnological characteristics and on the ostracod communities of 16 wetlands of the Parco Oglio Sud (Northern Italy). Physical and hydrochemical variables were measured and ostracod samples were collected in different seasons (April, June, August, and October). Most of the considered sites were characterised by high concentrations of nitrogenous compounds due to washing out from cultivated areas, intermittent river flooding and internal recycling. Observed differences in macrophyte communities were consistent with trophic status of waters, with pleustonic forms dominating most degraded areas. Both morphology of valves (by scanning electron microscopy) and anatomy of soft parts were analysed for ostracod species identification. Nineteen ostracod species in five families were found. Two species, Candona weltneri and Pseudocandona compressa, are new records for Italy. Cypria ophthalmica was collected from all sampling sites; other relatively common species were Cypridopsis vidua, Cyclocypris ovum, and Candona weltneri. No clear seasonably was observed in community structure; highest species diversity occurred in June in most of the studied wetlands. The maximum number of species per site was seven, and a maximum of six species was found in a single sample. Ostracod occurrence in relation to environmental factors was examined using Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA). Total alkalinity and pH were the most important variables structuring the species assemblages. The ostracod fauna found in this area was compared to the known distribution of recent non-marine ostracods in Italy, and the validity of published checklists is discussed.
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