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Additional info for Freshwater Aquatic Biomes (Greenwood Guides to Biomes of the World)
33 34 Freshwater Aquatic Biomes Finally, the flood channel is the channel that carries greater-than-bankfull flows. In an unaltered, stable alluvial stream, it corresponds with the floodplain. It will be inundated no more frequently than once every two to three years on average. Sometimes alluvial streams also have benches or terraces, which are relicts of floodplains from past climates. A less-apparent feature of the channel is the hyporheic zone. This lies under the channel bottom and along its sides where an exchange of water occurs between the channel and the groundwater system.
For example, some lampreys inhabit freshwaters; they belong to the order Petromyzontiformes, a group characterized by an absence of jaws. Several representatives of the cartiligenous fishes, Order Rajiiformes, commonly known as skates, live in freshwater. Primitives—fishes that have survived in much the same form as their ancestors, which lived hundreds of millions of years ago—are present. These include several species of lungfish in the orders Ceratodontiformes and Lepidosireniformes, as well as ancient order Acipenseriformes, with 24 species of commercially valuable and much overfished sturgeons (family Acipenseridae) and the strange-looking paddlefish (family Polyodontidae, two species).
Snakes are almost all predators, preying on fish primarily but also invertebrates. Terrapins tend to be omnivorous. The fearsome alligator snapping turtle is a good example, eating fish, invertebrates, and almost anything else to grow to an average of 175 lb (80 kg). Birds. Many birds live along rivers, in wetlands, and on and around lakes, and are involved in the aquatic food web, in many cases as top carnivores (see Plate II). Ducks, geese, and other waterfowl forage in shallows of lakes and rivers.