Macroinvertebrates are organisms that are large (macro) enough to be seen with the naked eye and without a backbone (invertebrate). Examples of aquatic macroinvertebrates include insects in their larval or nymph form, molluscs, crustaceans and worms.
The most common aquatic macroinvertebrates for Mallee wetlands are damselfly nymphs, water boatman, back swimmers, blood worms, freshwater shrimp and caddisfly larvae.
The health of a wetland or creek ecosystem, depends in part to the number and diversity of waterbugs. They also play an important role in breaking down (or decomposing) plants and animals, which is crucial in ensuring essential nutrients move through the ecosystem. A good example is carbon, when a leaf from a plant falls into a wetland, waterbugs will eat the leaf, the waterbugs then have carbon in their bodies, the waterbugs are then eaten by a fish providing a supply of carbon to the fish. The waterbugs are a crucial food source for the native animals, for example waterbirds, fish, turtles and frogs. No waterbugs means no food for many wetland animals.
By monitoring waterbugs we can gauge the health of our waterways which helps inform our policies and environmental watering plans.
To get involved with our monitoring program, sign up to our Engagement Register or email firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest in a waterbug monitoring kit.