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Macroinvertebrates home

Streams project

 

Cold River

These are the ten most common macroinvertebrates identified from samples from Cold River.

Click on images to zoom in. 

ORDER: Ephemeroptera
FAMILY: Baetidae 
GENUS: Baetis 

This mayfly has three "tails" and a unique head shape. Its gills are oval shaped and insert dorsally. More mature nymphs have long, dark wing pads. SMC

ORDER: Diptera
FAMILY: Chironomidae

 Midge larvae tend to be the most common macroinvertebrate at our sites.  As with other Diptera, there are no true jointed legs.  Chironomidae do have a pair of prolegs at each end and preserved individuals tend to curl into a 'C'.  Identification past family requires slide-mounted heads.  We have seen philopotamid caddisflies misidentified with the chironomids and we suspect that that happens when samples are being sorted from trays.  Under a microscope, six prominent legs can be seen on members of the family Philopotamidae.

ORDER: Diptera
FAMILY: Simuliidae

Simuliidae appear  rather like bowling pins with heads.  We have not identified them past family at this point, but it is in the long-term plan.


ORDER: Ephemeroptera
FAMILY: Baetidae
 

This mayfly has either two or three cerci ("tails") and a unique head shape. Its gills are oval shaped and insert dorsally.

Commonly encountered genera include Acerpenna, Baetis, and Pseudocloeon.

ORDER: Plecoptera 
FAMILY: Capniidae
GENUS: Nemocapnia

Capniidae stoneflies have hind wing pads that are are broad as they are long. An important distinction of the Capniidae  family is the membranous pleural folds that run down the posterior abdomen segments 1-9. These look like two lines running parallel down the back of the abdomen.

There are about 15 cercal (or "tail") segments on Nemocapnia stoneflies. There are multiple long, fine hairs on these segments, forming a "vertical fringe," which are absent on the basal 5 or 6 segments (closest to the abdomen).

ORDER: Ephemeroptera
FAM
ILY: Heptageniidae
GEN
US:
Epeorus

This is the only Heptageniidae genus present in this area with two tails!

ORDER: Trichoptera
FAMILY: Philopotamidae

GENUS: Chimarra

Chimarra are distinguished from the other Philopotamidae by a prominent asymmetrical notch in the frontoclypeus as well as a prominent process on the femora which bears a single hair (seta). SMC


ORDER: Diptera
FAMILY: Blephariceridae
GENUS: Blepharicera

This Diptera is characterized by six prominent "suction cups" on its  ventral side and has tufts on the sides of abdominal sections.  SMC


 

ORDER: Trichoptera
FAMILY: Hydropsychidae
GENUS: Hydropsyche

Hydropsyche share most characteristics with Ceratopsyche, including the sclerites in the intersegmental folds. Hydropsyche are distinguished from Ceratopsyche by the presence of scale hairs and minute spines on the three most posterior abdominal segments. SMC


ORDER: Diptera
FAMILY: Ceratopogonidae

Members of this family look like very straight Chironomidae. They are very long and thin with a distinct head capsule and no prolegs.  Some in the lab call them 'bamboo sticks with eyes.' SMC

The images are not a substitute for keying, but should serve as an aid in identifying common macroinvertebrates in samples.

Feedback - Partner schools: send us specimens not included above.  Taxonomists: click to email: Declan McCabe
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