The colonisation of experimental ponds by Chironomidae (Diptera).
The colonisation and succession of chironomids in a newly‐dug gravel pit habitat was investigated using replicate experimental ponds sampled during the summers of 1977 and 1978. In 1977 larvae and emerging adults were collected, whilst in 1978 only adults were sampled. Benthic sampling showed the larval communities to be predominated by Chironomus spp. whilst trapping of adults showed that this group accounted for only 4% of the emergence. This difference is attributed to the selective retention of the larger Chironomus larvae by the sieve used to screen benthos samples. The pioneer chironomid communities in the ponds are compared using similarity and diversity indices on adult emergence data. These showed that the pond communities were remarkably uniform in 1977, the first year of their existence, due to the predominance of Tanytarsus gracilentus. In 1978 the communities were much more variable. The community structure changed within the two years, with equitability increasing rapidly to that characteristic of a much more mature habitat. These successional changes are attributed to a reduction in uniformity of the habitat resulting from the growth of aquatic macrophytes.