Aquatic Macroinvertebrates



Aquatic macroinvertebrates (e.g., insects, crustaceans, mollusks) are a key part of the environment

  • They are a particularly important food resource for fish
  • They are important to both nutrient cycling and organic matter processing
  • Aquatic insects connect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems with aquatic larvae and terrestrial adults.
  • They are used as water quality indicators because they exhibit a wide range of tolerances to point and nonpoint source pollution. 
  • The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (ILEPA) has used macroinvertebrates in stream assessment since the agency’s beginning.
  • Some key indicator groups include:
    • Ephemeroptera (mayflies)
    • Plecoptera (stoneflies)
    • Trichoptera (caddisflies)
    • Odonata(dragonflies)



Publications: None yet.

Highlights from our work:

  • Twenty-one threatened or endangered species and two sensitive habitat types have been found in the Rt 53 North Extension corridor historically, but thus far only 6 of the species have been found, 4 plants and 2 fishes.