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Most and Least Wanted Organisms for WAVE

The WAVE analysis uses the presence of the following organisms to determine the health of sampled streams. "Most" wanted organisms are generally found in clean, unpolluted water and their presence in the sample is usually an indicator of good water quality.

"Least" wanted organisms are not good indicators of water quality condition because they can be found in a wide range of habitats and water quality conditions (polluted and clean water). They are included to help identify locations for more detailed assessments.

Visit the Freshwater Macroinvertebrates webpage to see photos and read about the major macroinvertebrate groups that may be found in streams in New York.

Most Wanted Macroinvertebrates
Scientific Name Common Name
Athericidae watersnipe fly larva
Baetiscidae armored mayfly
Brachycentridae humpless case-maker caddisfly larva
Caenidae small aquaregill mayfly nymph
Capniidae small winter stonefly
Chloroperlidae green stonefly nymph
Corydalidae dobsonfly, flyfish and hellgrammite larva
Ephemerellidae spiny crawler mayfly nymph
Ephemeridae common burrowing mayfly nymph
Glossosomatidae saddle case-maker caddisfly larva
Gomphidae clubtail dragonfly nymph
Helicopsychidae snail-case caddisfly larva
Heptageniidae flat head mayfly nymph
Hydroptilidae micro caddisfly larva
Isonychiidae brushlegged mayfly nymph
Lepidostomatidae lepidostomatid case-maker caddisfly larva
Leptohyphidae little stout crawler mayfly nymph
Leptophlebiidae prong-gilled mayfly nymph
Leuctridae rolled-winged stonefly nymph
Nemouridae spring stonefly
Odontoceridae strong case-maker caddisfly larva
Peltoperlidae roachlike stonefly nymph
Perlidae common stonefly nymph
Perlodidae patterned stonefly nymph
Philopotamidae finger net caddisfly larva
Polycentropodidae tube making and trumpet net caddisfly larva
Polymitarcyidae pale burrowing mayfly nymph
Potamanthidae hacklegill mayfly nymph
Psephenidae water penny
Pteronarcidae giant stonefly nymph
Rhyacophilidae free living caddisfly larva
Uenoidae unoid case-maker caddisfly larva
Least Wanted Macroinvertebrates
Scientific Name Common Name
Amphipoda scud
Asellidae sowbug
Calopterygidae broad-wing damselfly nymph
Chironomus red midge larva
Coenagrionidae narrow-winged damselfly nymph
Cordulegastridae spiketail dragonfly nymph
Corixidae water boatman
Haliplidae crawling water beetle
Hirudinea leech
Lymnaeidae air-breathing snail
Pelecypoda clams and mussels
Physidae bladder snails
Turbellaria flatworm and planarian
Sialidae alderfly larva
Simuliidae black fly larva
Tabanidae horsefly deerfly larva