Typical benthic invertebrates are animals such as snails, crayfish, clams, leeches, worms and the larval stages of dragonflies, mayflies, stoneflies and beetles that spend some or all of their lives in water. These organisms provide a good indicator of the quality of the water through the presence or absence of certain groups and species.
Benthic macroinvertebrates are animals without backbones that can be seen with the naked eye that live in the creek during some period of their life. These organisms are often used to monitor water quality in river, creeks and steams. These make good health indicators of aquatic ecosystems for a number of reasons:
- limited mobility that makes them vulnerable to many creek stresses;
- short life cycles;
- easily collected and identified all year round, and
- exist pretty much everywhere.
Some benthic organisms, such as mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies are very sensitive to pollution. Finding these organisms in our samples is a good indicator of a healthy environment.
Some benthic critters are tolerant of pollution , such as worms, leeches and chironomids. Finding these organisms in our samples is a good indication that the environment is being negatively impacted by pollution.
Healthy rivers, creeks and streams will also have a large population of benthic macroinvertebrates with high species diversity—meaning that there is a large variety of critters to be found within the bottom muck.
8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Water Conservation Supervisor
Tel: (519) 631-1270 ext. 228