Wular Lake, the largest freshwater lake of India, plays a significant role in the hydrography of the Kashmir valley by acting as a huge absorption basin for floodwaters. Although rich in biodiversity, no published report is available on Copepoda diversity, distribution and abundance in such an important Ramsar Site of Kashmir Himalaya. Copepod samples, collected over a period of 12 months from September 2010 to August 2011 at five sampling sites revealed the occurrence of about 16 species belonging to 3 families namely cyclopoids with 12 species, calanoids and harpacticoids being represented by two species each. The dominant species seen were Cyclops bicolor, Eucyclops agilis, Bryocamptus nivalis and Diaptomus virginiensis. Various diversity indices like Shannon-Weaver, Margalef and Fisher_alpha were used to assess the Copepoda diversity in the lake. Further, discernible differences were observed among the studied sites showing 15 species at site III, 13 each at sites IV and II, 9 at site V and 8 at site I.
Key words: Copepods, cyclopoids, composition, diversity, Ramsar Site.
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