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Freshwater Macroinvertebrates of NY

Click on the group name in the table below to read about aquatic and semi-aquatic invertebrates that can be found in NY. Information about aquatic insects not found in stream riffles in New York State may not be discussed. A PDF version of these web pages is available: Freshwater Macroinvertebrates of NYS (PDF, 896 KB).

Organisms from these groups can be collected with a kick net from riffle areas in freshwater streams that have substrates consisting of rocks, gravel and sand.

Aquatic and semi-aquatic invertebrates found in New York waters
Name of Group Representative Picture of Group
Flatworms (Platyhelminthes) image of a flatworm
Mussel, Clams (Mollusca: Pelecypoda) image of a clam
Snails (Mollusca:Gastropoda) Physidae snail
Worms (Oligochaeta) image of a worm
Leeches (Hirudinea) image of a leech
Scuds (Amphipoda) image of a scud
Crayfish (Decapoda) image of a crayfish
Sowbugs (Isopoda) image of a sowbug
Mayflies (Ephemeroptera) image of a mayfly
Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata) image of a Dragonfly
Stoneflies (Plecoptera) image of a stonefly
True Bugs (Hemiptera) image of a true bug
Dobsonflies and Alderflies (Megaloptera) image of a Megaloptera
Water Beetles (Coleoptera) image of a water beetle
Caddisflies (Trichoptera) image of a caddisfly
True Flies (Diptera) image of a truefly

Additional Resources


Peckarsky, B.L., P.R. Fraissinet, M.A. Penton, and D.J. Conklin, Jr. 1990. Freshwater Macroinvertebrates of Northeastern North America. Cornell University Press: Ithaca, New York.

Voshell, J.R. 2002. A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America. McDonald & Woodward Publishing Company: Blacksburg, Virginia.

Merritt, R.W., K.W. Cummins, and M.B. Berg, eds. 2008. An Introduction to the Aquatic Insects of North America. 4th Edition. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co: Dubuque, Iowa.