We review the major conceptual developments that have occurred over the last 50 years concerning the factors that influence insect biodiversity in streams and examine how well empirical descriptions and theory match. Stream insects appear to respond to both spatial and temporal variation in physical heterogeneity. At all spatial scales, the data largely support the idea that physical complexity promotes biological richness, although exceptions to this relationship were found. These exceptions may be related to how we measure habitat complexity at finer spatial scales and to factors that influence regional richness, such as biogeographic history, at broader spatial scales. However, the degree to which local stream insect assemblages are influenced by regional processes is largely unknown.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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