This resource is designed to provide a better understanding of the wide vareity of benthic macroinvertebrates found in our rivers, streams and wetlands. In addition to images, general information is included about the distinguishing features of the aquatic stage that aid in identification. Also included are the organisms feeding group, and scales for tolerance, size range and habitat preferences. Adult images are also provided for many families. The illustrations are courtesy of Cacapon Institute and artist Jennifer Gillies.
Benthic macroinvertebrates are excellent indicators of watershed health because they: Live in the water for all or most of their life; stay in areas suitable for their survival; are easy to collect; differ in their tolerance to amount and types of pollution; are easy to identify in a laboratory and in the field; often live for more than one year; and are important components of a streams nutrient and energy system.