Phytotelmata are plant-held water bodies housing complex aquatic invertebrate communities drawing attention for their suitability as breeding sites for disease bearing mosquitoes, and the unique fauna occurring in these habitats. Despite the human and scientific relevance, relatively little information is available on the water characteristics in these habitats and these scarce references consist only of isolated point measurements. To begin filling this knowledge gap, we collected high resolution data series of the acidity and temperature of tank water from bromeliads in the cloud forest of Cusuco National Park, Honduras. Average bromeliad water remained acidic for the duration of this study and fluctuated between 4.3 ± 0.1 and 5.5 ± 0.5. Extreme pH values measured as high as 9.3 and as low as 3.3. Water temperature varied between 14.8 ± 0.2°C and 19.2 ± 0.2°C. We found strong diel fluctuations in water condition increasing in maximum and minimum values together with an increase in acidity as the water evaporated. The variation in water temperature and pH were both strongly correlated with the size (total weight) of the bromeliad. The presence of highly unstable environments with significant variation between neighboring plants is a potential crucial element driving aquatic animal community structure in these aquatic habitats.
Key words: Phytotelmata, bromeliads, maximum, minimum, mosquitoes.
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