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Insects & Other Species

Pullouts from the Conservationist:

Insect Diversity Poster
Art by Jean Gawalt


Invertebrates are animals without a spinal column (backbone). They include marine species such as sponges, jellyfish, sea urchins and starfish, freshwater aquatic species such as snails and mussels, and terrestrial species like insects, spiders and worms. On these pages you will find information about a variety of NYSDEC research and management programs concerning invertebrate species.

Endangered and Threatened Invertebrates

The Endangered Species Unit of NYSDEC is responsible for perpetuating and restoring native animal life within the State. Several invertebrate species are listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern in New York. Fact sheets have been prepared for several of these listed species which include a description of the species, its life history, statewide distribution and habitat, its current status, and management and research needs.


Macroinvertebrates are larger-than-microscopic invertebrate animals. Because of their abundance and their sensitivity to environmental impacts, they are widely used in biomonitoring programs for assessing water quality. The Stream Biomonitoring Unit of NYSDEC has used aquatic macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects, worms, clams, snails and crustaceans) to monitor the water quality of the State's rivers and streams.

Forest Insects and Forest Health

The Division of Lands and Forests, Forest Health Section is responsible for monitoring forest health on private and public lands and to make management recommendations. They have a collection of articles of interest to forest owners with the help of Douglas C. Allen, Professor of Forest Entomology at the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry. These articles were written to alert landowners of potential insect pests and their possible effects and to increase awareness and appreciation for those insects that play many beneficial roles in forest communities.

The Invasive Species page has information on some invasive insects currently threatening the health of New York's forests.

More about Insects & Other Species:

  • Southern Pine Beetle - The SPB is a bark beetle native to the southern United States which has steadily expanded its range north and westward.
  • Whitespotted Pine Sawyer - the whitespotted pine sawyer is a native longhorned beetle whose larvae feed on diseased and damaged conifers.
  • Cicada - Annual cicadas appear every summer while periodical cicadas appear every 13 or 17 years.
  • Boxelder Bug - The boxelder bug (Boisea trivittata) is an American species of true bug, also commonly known as the box elder bug or maple bug.
  • Friendly Flies - Friendly flies are natural parasites of the forest tent caterpillar and are not harmful to humans.
  • Pine Shoot Beetle - The pest alert for the pine shoot beetle.
  • Tent Caterpillars - A description of Forest Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria) and Eastern Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum, what they do and how to identify them.
  • White Pine Weevil Report - This study investigates the hypothesis that there is a genetic difference in the susceptibility of eastern white pine to white pine weevil attack associated with differences in the geographic origin of the host.
  • Forest Insects Articles - A series of articles about forest insects and forest health.
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    Albany, NY 12233-4253
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