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Open AccessArticle

Chorological and Ecological Differentiation of the Commonest Leech Species from the Suborder Erpobdelliformes (Arhynchobdellida, Hirudinea) on the Balkan Peninsula

1
Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stanković”—National Institute of the Republic of Serbia, University of Belgrade, Bulevar Despota Stefana 142, 11060 Belgrade, Serbia
2
Department of Invertebrates and Animal Ecology, Institute of Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University “St. Cyril and Methodius” Arhimedova 3, 1000 Skopje, North Macedonia
3
Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Montenegro, Cetinjski put b.b., 81000 Podgorica, Montenegro
4
Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade, Studentski trg 16, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(2), 356; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020356
Received: 26 December 2019 / Revised: 20 January 2020 / Accepted: 21 January 2020 / Published: 28 January 2020
This study is the result of extensive investigations of leeches on the Balkan Peninsula. Our aim was to detect actual and potential (modeled) distributions of common Erpobdellidae species, and to identify their ecological differentiation with respect to the altitudinal and waterbody type gradient. Although widespread, these species rarely live together. Intense competition is avoided by preferences for different types of habitats. This was confirmed by Pearson correlation analyses that yielded negative results. Differentiation of these species was clarified by the results of logistic Gaussian regression analyses. While Erpobdella octoculata and Dina lineata have a similar distribution along the altitudinal gradient, they prefer different waterbody types. Erpobdella vilnensis prefers higher altitudes than the other two species. Its preferred habitats are smaller rivers and streams located at altitudes from 400 to 1000 m a.s.l. Although present in all waterbody types, large lowland rivers and standing waterbodies are the preferred habitats of E. octoculata. Fast-flowing springs and streams are mostly inhabited by D. lineata. While the distribution of the species overlaps to a large degree, the ecological preferences of species differ significantly and thus they can be used as confident typological descriptors and indicators of ecological status. View Full-Text
Keywords: Hirudinea; Erpobdellidae; logistic Gaussian regression; MaxEnt; waterbody type Hirudinea; Erpobdellidae; logistic Gaussian regression; MaxEnt; waterbody type
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Marinković, N.; Karadžić, B.; Slavevska Stamenković, V.; Pešić, V.; Nikolić, V.; Paunović, M.; Raković, M. Chorological and Ecological Differentiation of the Commonest Leech Species from the Suborder Erpobdelliformes (Arhynchobdellida, Hirudinea) on the Balkan Peninsula. Water 2020, 12, 356.

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