Academics Admission Student Life Athletics About Saint Michael's News & Events

Site codes explained and mapped  (under mapping resources tab)

Macroinvertebrates home

Streams project

 

Sleepers River

These are the most common macroinvertebrates identified from samples from Sleepers 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: Ephemeroptera
FAMILY: Ephemerellidae
GENUS:
Drunella

The mayfly Drunella is distinguished by its large femoral “biceps;” these femora have tubercles on the leading margins. Gills are present on segments 3-7.

 

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: Plecoptera
FAMILY: Leuctridae
GENUS: Leuctra

This family of stonefly is fairly slender by stonefly standards.  The divergent wing pads are a helpful characteristic. Leuctridae  are similar in overall shape to the Capniidae; however, Leuctridae often do not have pleural folds. If they are present, they only extend from abdominal segments 1-7.  Leuctra  are recognized by abdominal terga with posterior fringes of short hairs and last few segments with longer hairs. NABS


NABS
ORDER: Trichoptera
FAMILY: Brachycentridae 
GENUS: Brachycentrus

These larvae are typically found with their legs extended out of their case for feeding. The cases are square in cross section and made of plant materials. Brachycentrus has 2 large sclerites on the metanotum. In fresh samples (preserved for less than one week) these organisms often have a pale green tint.

 

ORDER: Trichoptera
FAMILY:
Hydropsychidae
GENUS: Ceratopsyche

Ceratopsyche has a forked foretrochantin. The foretrochantin is the projection at the uppermost portion of the foreleg. The leg may need to be pulled away from the body to expose this feature.

Ceratopsyche have a large pair of sclerites underneath the prosternum. Note: the large single sclerite is the prosternal plate. 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.


© Aquatic Bioassessment Laboratory, California Digital Reference Collection

ORDER: Trichoptera
FAMILY: Glossomatidae

Larvae in this family build domed cases made of small rocks, and are often wider at segment 5. The pronotum is covered in dark, sclerotized plates, but there are either no sclerites on the mesonotum, or the mesonotum is unsclerotized with the exception of a few patches. The anal proleg is broadly joined to segment 9; the anal claw has one or more accessory hooks. The  pronotal excision is small (approximately 1/3 anterolaterally) to accommodate the coxae.

Commonly encountered genera include Glossosoma and Agapetus.

ORDER: Ephemeroptera
FAMILY: Ephemerellidae


The mayfly Ephemerellidae is distinguished by the absence of gills on the second abdominal segment; individuals either have gills on segments 3-7 or 4-7. Some may have operculate (plate-like) gills on the fourth segment, though in many the gills are of identical size.

Commonly encountered genera include Drunella, Ephemerella, and Serratella.

 


ORDER: Trichoptera
FAMILY: Hydropsychidae

This family of net-spinning caddisflies is very abundant at several sites.  They are important filtering collectors and are quite common at urban and agricultural sites where particles of organic material can be important food resources.  Genus-level identification is possible for mature specimens and we will include the genera we found at your site if possible. Commonly found genera include Cheumatopsyche, Ceratopsyche, and Hydropsyche. Less commonly, we have found Arctopsyche and Potamyia.

When using the key, some features that are challenging to see are the forked trochantin and the paired sclerites in the folds between segments.  Other, more easily seen key features include filamentous gills on the abdominal segments and the sclerotization of the dorsal surfaces of all three thoracic segments. Keep in mind that with smaller or more immature specimens, genus-level ID may not be possible.

PHYLUM: Annelida
CLASS: Oligochaeta

Aquatic earthworms lack legs and are characterized by having 20 or more segments. Unlike leeches, they lack a suction disk.

ORDER: Ephemeroptera
FAM
ILY: Heptageniidae

This family of mayflies can be characterized by their distinctly flattened heads and striking resemblance of the character 'Jack Skellington' from the movie 'The Nightmare Before Christmas.' This family can either have two or three cerci (tails).

Commonly encountered genera include Epeorus, Heptagenia, Maccaffertium, and Rhithrogena.

ORDER: Trichoptera
FAMILY: Philopotamidae

Philopotomidae are net-spinning filtering collectors.  A casual observer might sort them with Chironomidae, but a close look reveals six jointed legs.  The faint white 'T' shaped labrum extending from the front of the head past the mandibles is diagnostic for the family (it is sometimes withdrawn and hard to see). The asymmetrical notch gets us to genus; common genera include Dolophilodes, Wormaldia, and Chimarra. 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
This site is supported by Vermont EPSCoR grant from the National Science Foundation (EPS #0701410).
©2008 Saint Michael's College
One Winooski Park, Colchester, Vermont, USA 05439 | 802.654.2000 |
Privacy Policy