This chapter reviews the current state of knowledge of invertebrates of rivers, lakes, and wetlands in western South America, from southern Peru to the Strait of Magellan in southern Chile. A characterization of the diverse groups of insects, mollusk crustaceans, and other smaller groups is presented, and a biogeographic analysis of them is made with emphasis on their main forcing factors, ecology, and threats in the Anthropocene. This fauna presents Gondwanic characteristics, with clear North–South latitudinal patterns, covering from the Desert of Atacama in the North, one of the most arid deserts of the world, to the rainy and cold regions of the southern end of South America. The central zone of this territory includes one of the global biodiversity “hot spots,” which currently presents serious threats associated with changes in habitat, introduction of invasive species, climate change, and overexploitation of aquatic resources.
Part of the book: Inland Waters