Education

Macroinvertebrate Photo Gallery

Macroinvertebrates are animals that lack backbones and can be seen with the naked eye. These bottom-dwelling animals include crustaceans and worms but most are aquatic insects. Beetles, caddisflies, stoneflies, mayflies, hellgrammites, dragonflies, true flies, and some moths are among the groups of insects represented in streams. Macroinvertebrates are an important link in the food web between the producers (leaves, algae) and higher consumers such as fish.

What Can Macroinvertebrates Tell Us About Stream Health?

Certain types of plants and animals are more tolerant than others to changes in habitat and water quality. The most commonly studied organisms in streams are fish, algae, and macroinvertebrates. Of these groups, the macroinvertebrate community is the most commonly used. Learn more about how macroinvertebrates can be used as water quality indicators in our Leaf Pack Network® Learning Center.

Need to identify a macroinvertebrate you found? Use our macroinvertebrate identification key.