A summary of the results from the study of benthos of lakes and reservoirs in Spain is provided, with a list of the species found to date. Spanish natural lakes are smaller than European lakes; the largest is Lake Sanabria, of glacial origin, which is 3 Km long and half a kilometer wide. Many are very small and situated in the mountains; more than 200 hundred have been recorded in Spain, but only in Lake Sanabria and Lake Banyoles have the benthos been studied. Lake Sanabria is a cold oligotrophic, monomictic lake with oxygen always present in the deepest zones. Its fauna is similar to that of other central European lakes, with Micropsectra contracta (a chironomid) as the dominan1 species. Lake Banyoles is a karstic, monomictic and multibasin lake; despite the low primary productivity, due to the abundante of sulphate in the water, the allochthonous inflow of organic matter and the inflow of water from bottom springs, the profunda1 environinent is very stressing for benthic fauna. Very low oxygen concentrations and high sulphide content in the water and sediments dueto meromixis mean that only the larva of the dipteran Chaoborus flavicans was present in one of the 5 basins of the lake. In other basins, when oxygen is available (no meromixis), the fauna is similar to that of the mineralized lakes of the Aegean region and some lakes in central Italia. On the other hand, preliminary data from the Pyrenean lakes and from Sierra Nevada ponds reveal no differences with northern cold lakes.
The largest lakes in Spain are the reservoirs. There are nearly 1000 and data are available on 100 of them, including the largest. In addition to oxygen and sulphide content in the bottom waters, water level fluctuation and high sedimentation rates are disturbance factors that prevented the organization of the community. Allochthonous inputs of organic matter are also an important factor both in the reservoirs and also in the small, oligotrophic lakes like Banyoles and Sanabria. As a result the meiofaunal loop is very important in many of the Spanish water bodies . For this reason the natural lakes and reservoirs of Spain are dominated by Oligochaeta, small crustaceans and the microcarnivore chironomids (such as Procladius, Cladopelma and Microchironomus) that feed on these meoifaunal elements. The phytophagous chironomids, like Chironomus, are only abundan1 in the shallow areas of mesotrophic and eutrophic reservoirs. This situation makes it difficult to apply the typological system of SAETHER which predicts with some confidence only the benthic communities of Spanish natural lakes above 1500 m in the Pyrenees or the ponds above 2000 m in Sierra Nevada mountains. Higher temperatures (which originate a longer stratification period), the presence of sulphate in the waters of the eastern part of Spain and high inputs of sediments and allochthonous organic matter seem to be the factors that originated the differences between the benthic profundal faunas of Spanish lakes and reservoirs and those of the temperate lakes of north and central Europe.