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Aquatic Insects of the Great Lakes

  

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

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Some Ephemeroptera nymphs and Diptera larvae are common in the deep profundal benthic zones of the Great Lakes - other orders of aquatic insect larvae are restricted to littoral or tributary benthos, nearshore surface waters (e.g., water striders), or are parasitic on other Great Lakes waterlife (e.g., Lepidoptera and braconid wasps). Some Coleoptera and Hemiptera remain fully aquatic as adults (usually littoral) - other orders of aquatic insects have winged adults and are usually found floating on the water surface, associated with emergent macrophytes (e.g., wetlands) or in nearshore terrestrial habitats.

Nymphs and Larvae

Note on juvenile stages - Pupae are inactive stages (e.g., hard case, translucent case or cocoon). Larvae and nymphs are both active stages. Nymphs have rudimentary wings (or wing buds) and usually have jointed legs (usually 3 pair) similar to adults. Larvae lack rudimentary wings and usually lack legs or are limited to prolegs or projections (usually other than 3 pairs). See also: globe indicates link to external web siteAn Introduction to Insect Life Cycles

Larval mayfly - Hexagenia limbata
Ephemeroptera
(mayflies)

Nymph - 3 tail blades, lateral gills on abdomen

dragonfly nymph - Aeshna sp.
Odonata
(dragonflies & damselflies)

Nymph - 0-3 tail appendages, chewing mouth (predatory)

Chironomid larva
Diptera
(flies, midges & mosquitos)

Larvae - w/o legs

stonefly larvae - Acroneuria sp.
Plecoptera
(stoneflies)

Nymph - 2 tail appendages

Megaloptera larvae - Sialis sp.
Megaloptera
(alderflies & spongilliflies)

Alderfly larvae - with stout lateral processes on all segments
Spongillifly larvae - found in sponges with a slender curved mouth ~ half body length

Caddis fly larvae (bottom) and case (top)
Trichoptera
(caddisflies)

Larvae - found in cases, 1 pair of terminal prolegs with hooks

riffle beetle larvae - Stenelmis spp.
Coleoptera
(beetles)

Larvae - without prolegs or cases, usually 6 well developed thoracic legs but no wing pads

water strider nymphs - Gerris sp.
Hemiptera
(water bugs)

Nymphs - incomplete metamorphosis, juveniles look similar to adults

Bellura sp. larvae
Lepidoptera
(daggar and snout moths)

Larvae - caterpillars with 5 proleg pairs, usually parasitic in macrophytes rather than independently aquatic

braconid wasp larvae emerging from a caterpillar host
Hymenoptera
(braconid wasps)

Larvae - Parasitic on other larvae

 

Adults
Adult mayflies - Hexagenia limbata
Ephemeroptera
(mayflies)

Adult - 2-3 threadlike tails

Ischnura hastata - adult male damselfly
Odonata
(dragonflies & damselflies)

Adult - similarly sized fore and hindwings held perpendicular to the body (flat or vertical) at rest

Adult chironomus (midge)
Diptera
(flies, midges & mosquitos)

Adult - 1 pair of wings, no thread-like tails

Plecoptera adult - Alloperla sp.
Plecoptera
(stoneflies)

Adult - wings held flat and parallel to the body with hindwings fanfolded beneath the shorter forewings when at rest

Climaciaareolaris
Megaloptera
(alderflies and spongilliflies)

Adult - hind-wings broader than fore-wings at least at base, held downsloping at rest

adult caddisfly - Pneumatopsyche speciosa
Trichoptera
(caddisflies)

Adult - 2 pair of hairy wings held downsloping at rest

adult Hydaticus spp. - predaceous diving beetle
Coleoptera
(beetles)

Adult - forewings hardened to a protective covering meeting in a straight line down the back

adult water boatman - Sigara sp.
Hemiptera
(water bugs)

Adult - forewings meet leaving a triangular patch showing at the anterior portion of the back and are clear at the tips

Bellura sp. adult
Lepidoptera
(daggar and snout moths)

Adult - 2 pair of wings, both with powdery scales

adult braconid wasp
Hymenoptera
(braconid wasps)

Adult - extremely narrow waist

 

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Species List

  • Order
    • Family
      • Genus
        • Species Reported Locations**

** Reported locations based on a limited literature search. Codes indicate presence reported but absence of a code should not be interpreted as a species absence.

  • Coleoptera (beetles)
    • Chrysomelidae (leaf beetles) XS
      • Donacia sp. X
      • Neohaemonia sp. X
      • Prasocuris sp. X
    • Curculionidae (snout beetles, weevils)
      • Lixus sp. X
    • Dytiscidae (predaceous diving beetles) XW SHEO
      • Bidessus spp. W SHO
      • Celina sp. X
      • Dytiscus sp. X
      • Hydaticus spp. XW E
      • Hydroporus spp. W H
      • Laccophilus spp. XW H
      • Rhantus sp. X
      • Uvarus sp. X
    • Elmidae (riffle beetles) XW SHEO
      • Dubiraphia spp. XW HEO
      • Macronychus sp.
        • M. glabratus W E
      • Optioservus spp. W SHEO
        • O. fastiditus W S
      • Stenelmis spp. W HEO
        • S. crenata W HO
        • S. quadrimaculata W HE
    • Erirhinidae
      • Tanysphyrus sp.
    • Gyrinidae (whiligig beetles) XW H
      • Dineutus sp. X
      • Gyrinus spp. XW H
        • G. confinus W H
    • Haliplidae (crawling water beetles) XW HE
      • Haliplus spp. XW HE
      • Peltodytes sp. X
    • Helophoridae
      • Helophorus sp. X
    • Hydraenidae (minute moss beetles)
      • Anacaena sp. X
      • Cymbiodyta sp. X
      • Hydrochara sp. X
      • Hydraena sp. X
      • Paracymus sp. X
      • Tropisternus sp. X
    • Hydrophilidae (water scavenger beetles) XW EO
      • Berosus spp. W EO
    • Limnichidae (minute marsh-loving beetles)
      • Lutrochus sp.
        • L. laticeps W HE
    • Noteridae (burrowing water beetles) X
    • Psephenidae (water pennies) W SHO
      • Ectopria spp. W S
      • Psephenus spp. W SHO
    • Sciritidae X
      • Cyphon sp. X
    • Staphylinidae (rove beetles) X
  • Diptera UGZ XWRLN12345 SMHEL* (Click link for full list)
    • Ceratopogonidae (biting midges) XWRN SHEO
    • Chaoboridae (phantom midges) X
    • Chironimidae (midges) XWR(50spp.) LN12345 SM(27spp.)HEO
    • Culicidae (mosquitos) X
    • Dixidae (midges) X
    • Dolichopodidae (longlegged flies) X
    • Empididae (dance flies) XW SHEO
    • Ephydridae (shore flies) XR E
    • Mycetophilidae (fungus gnats) X
    • Psychodidae (moth flies) W SHE
    • Sciaridae (dark-winged fungus gnats) X
    • Sciomyzidae (marsh flies) X
    • Simuliidae (black flies) W SO
    • Stratiomyidae (soldier flies) X
    • Syrphidae (syrphid flies) X
    • Tabanidae (deer flies) X
    • Thaumaleidae (solitary midges) X
    • Tipulidae (crane flies) XWR S
  • Ephemeroptera (mayflies) XWRLN SHEO (Click link for full list)
    • Baetidae XWR SHEO
    • Baetiscidae
    • Caenidae XWRL SHEO
    • Ephemeridae XWRN SHE
    • Ephemerellidae
    • Heptageniidae XWRN SHEO
    • Leptohyphidae
    • Leptophlebiidae
    • Oligoneuridae X
  • Heteroptera (Hemiptera)
    • Belostomatidae (giant water bugs) X S
      • Belostoma sp. X
    • Corixidae (water boatmen) XW SHE
      • Callicorixa sp.
        • C. audeni W H
      • Hesperocorixa sp.
        • H. atopodonta W S
        • H. kennicotti X
        • H. michiganensis X
      • Palmacorixa sp
      • P. buenoi X
      • Sigara spp. X
        • S. alternata W E
        • S. lineata XW HE
        • S. transfigurata X
        • S. trilineata XW SH
        • S. variabilis X
      • Trichocorixa
        • T. borealis X
        • T. naias W H
    • Gerridae (water striders) X
      • Gerris sp. X
      • Limnoporus sp. X
      • Neogerris sp. X
      • Trepobates sp. X
    • Hydrometridae (marsh treaders, water measurers) X
      • Hydrometra sp. X
    • Mesoveliidae (water treaders) X
      • Mesovelia sp. X
    • Naucoridae (creeping water bugs) X
    • Nepidae (water scorpions) X
      • Ranatra sp. X
    • Notonectidae (backswimmers) X
    • Veliidae (ripple bugs) X
  • Hymenoptera
    • Braconidae (braconid wasps) X
  • Lepidoptera
    • Noctuidae (dagger moths)
      • Bellura spp. X
    • Pyralidae (snout moths) XWR SHEO
      • Acentria sp. X
      • Acentropus (Acentria) sp.
        • A. niveus (ephemerella) EO (Exotic - GLANSIS)
      • Nymphula spp. W SHO
      • Paragyractis spp. WR HE
      • Parapoynx sp. X
      • Petrophila sp. X
  • Megaloptera
    • Sialidae (alderflies) XL H
      • Sialis sp. XL H
    • Sisyridae (spongillaflies)
      • Climacia sp.
        • C. areolaris R
  • Odonata XW SO (Click link for full list)
    • - Aniosoptera (dragonflies)
    • - Zygoptera (damselflies)
  • Plecoptera (stoneflies)
    • Capniidae XW SH
      • Paracapnia sp.
        • P. angulata W SH
      • Chloroperlidae
      • Alloperla spp. W H
      • Hastaperla sp.
        • H. brevis W SH
    • Leuctridae
      • Leuctra sp.
        • L. tenuis W SH
    • Nemouridae
      • Nemoura sp.
        • N. trispinosa W SH
    • Perlidae
      • Acroneuria sp.
        • A. lycorias W SH
      • Paragnetina sp.
        • P. media W H
    • Perlodidae
      • Arcynopteryx sp.
        • A. compacta W S
      • Isogenus sp.
        • I. frontalis W SO
      • Isoperla sp. R
        • I. bilineata W SH
  • Trichoptera (caddis flies) XWRLN SHCEO
    • Brachycentridae
      • Brachycentrus sp.
        • B. lateralis C
      • Micrasema spp. W R(29spp.) CE
      • Molanna sp.
        • M. ulmerina C
    • Glossosomatidae
      • Glossosoma spp. W S
      • Proptoptila sp.
        • P. maculata C
    • Helicopsychidae
      • Helicopsyche sp.
        • H. borealis XWR SHCEO
    • Hydropsychidae
      • Cheumatopsyche spp.
        • C. campyla W SHCEO
        • C. miniscula WH
        • C. speciosa C
      • Hydropsyche spp. W SHCEO
        • H. alternans C
        • H. guttata W HE
        • H. hageni C
        • H. incommoda C
        • H. morosa C
        • H. phalerata C
        • H. recurvata W SHEO
        • H. valanis C
      • Macrostemum sp.
        • M. zebratum C
      • Potamyia sp.
        • P. flava C
      • Symphitopsyche sp. R
    • Hydroptilidae XWR SHCEO
      • Agraylea spp. W SHCEO
        • A. multipunctata C
      • Hydroptila spp. XWR SHCEO
        • H. consimilis W SHCO
        • H. spatulata W CE
        • H. waubesiana C
      • Ithytrichia sp.
        • I. clavata W H
      • Neotrichia spp. W S
        • N. halia C
      • Ochrotrichia sp.
        • O. tarsalis C
      • Orthotrichia sp.
        • O. aegerfasciella C
        • O. cristata C
      • Oxyethira spp. X
        • O. pallida C
        • O. verna C
    • Lepidostomatidae
      • Lepidostoma spp. WR SHCEO
        • L. togatum W O
    • Leptoceridae XWRLN SHCEO
      • Ceraclea spp. XWR SHCEO
        • C. alagma W O
        • C. ancycla (ancyclus) WR SE
        • C. angusta W H
        • C. annulicornis WR SH
        • C. cancellata C
        • C. diluta W HCEO
        • C. erratica C
        • C. flava W HCO
        • C. mentiea C
        • C. neffi C
        • C. nepha W EO
        • C. resurgens R C
        • C. submacula R
        • C. tarsipunctata W HCEO
        • C. transversa C
      • Mystacides spp. WRN SHCEO
        • M. longicornis W HCEO
        • M. interjecta XW O
        • M. sepulchralis (sepulcharis) WR SHC
      • Nectopsyche spp. XWR HCE
        • N. diarina C
        • N. exquisita C
      • Oecetis spp. XWRN SHCEO
        • O. avara W SHCEO
        • O. cinerascens C
        • O. eddlestoni W HE
        • O. immobilis C
        • O. inconspicua W SHCEO
        • O. osteni C
      • Setodes spp. W HC
        • S. incertus C
        • S. oligius C
      • Triaenodes spp. XR C
        • T. flavescens C
        • T. injusta C
        • T. tardus C
      • Ylodes sp. X
    • Limnephilidae XW SCE
      • Anabolia sp. X
      • Apatania spp. W E
      • Arctopora sp. X
      • Dicosmoecus spp. W S
      • Glyphopsyche spp. W S
      • Goerinae X
      • Grammotaulius sp. X
      • Lenarchus sp. X
      • Limnephilus spp. XW SC
        • L. hyalinus C
        • L. indivisus C
        • L. infernalis C
        • L. sackeni C
        • L. submonilifer C
      • Nemotaulius sp. X
        • N. hostilus C
      • Psychoglypha sp.
        • P. subborealis W S
      • Pycnopsyche sp C
    • Molannidae
      • Molanna spp. XWN HCEO
        • M. flavicornis C
        • M. uniophila W O
    • Phryganeidae
      • Agrypnia sp. XR
        • A. vestita C
      • Banksiola sp. X
        • B. crotchi C
      • Fabria sp. X
      • Phryganea sp. X
        • P. cinerea C
      • Ptilostoma sp. X
    • Polycentropodidae XWR SHCE
      • Cernotina sp. X
      • Cyrnellus spp. XC
      • Neureclipsis spp. XWR SHCE
        • N. bimaculatus C
        • N. crepuscularis W CE
        • N. validus C
      • Nyctiophylax spp. WR SHCE
        • N. affinis W HC
        • N. vestitus W H
      • Phylocentropus sp. X
        • P. placidus C
      • Polycentropus spp. XWR SHCEO
        • P. centralis R
        • P. cinereus WR SHCE
        • P. interruptus WR HC
        • P. remotus WR HC
    • Psycomyiidae
      • Lype sp.
        • L. diversa C
      • Psychomyia sp. W SH
        • P. flavida C
    • Rhyacophilidae
      • Rhyacophila spp. W SH
        • R. atrata W S

* (Dominant) based on:

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S (Lake Superior) based on:

M (Lake Michigan) based on combination of:

H (Lake Huron) based on:

C (St. Clair - Detroit River Corridor) based on:

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E (Lake Erie) based on:

O (Lake Ontario) based on:

X (Great Lakes coastal wetlands) based on:

W (wave zone = 0-2m) based on:

R (rocky habitats) based on: globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteBenthic Community Structure and Composition among rocky habitats in the Great Lakes and Keuka Lake, NY. 1987. Michael H. Winnell and David J. Jude. JGLR 13(1)3-17.

L (littoral) based on: globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteRelationships among zoobenthos, sediments, and organic matter in littoral zones of western Lake Erie and Saginaw Bay. 1983. Richard A. Cole and Diana L. Weigmann. JGLR 9(4)568-581.

N (nearshore) based on:

1 = 14-30m based on:

2 = 31-50m based on:Disruption of the benthic community in Lake Ontario. 2003. S.J. Lozano and T.F. Nalepa. in State of Lake Ontario (SOLO) -- Past, Present and Future. M Munawar (ed). Ecovision World Monograph Series. Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management Society.

3 = 51-70m based on:Disruption of the benthic community in Lake Ontario. 2003. S.J. Lozano and T.F. Nalepa. in State of Lake Ontario (SOLO) -- Past, Present and Future. M Munawar (ed). Ecovision World Monograph Series. Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management Society.

4 = 71-90m based on:Disruption of the benthic community in Lake Ontario. 2003. S.J. Lozano and T.F. Nalepa. in State of Lake Ontario (SOLO) -- Past, Present and Future. M Munawar (ed). Ecovision World Monograph Series. Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management Society.

5 = >90m based on:Disruption of the benthic community in Lake Ontario. 2003. S.J. Lozano and T.F. Nalepa. in State of Lake Ontario (SOLO) -- Past, Present and Future. M Munawar (ed). Ecovision World Monograph Series. Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management Society.

U (eutrophic indicator) based on:

Z (mesotrophic indicator) based on:

G (oligotrophic indicator) based on:

The following insect species are included on the Michigan state list of endangered species:

  • Brychius hungerfordi Spangler Hungerford’s crawling water beetle
  • Catocala amestris Strecker Three-staff underwing
  • Neonympha mitchellii mitchellii French Mitchell’s satyr
  • Schinia indiana (Smith) Phlox moth
  • Schinia lucens (Morrison) Leadplant moth
  • Somatochlora hineana Williamson Hine’s emerald dragonfly
  • Speyeria idalia (Drury) Regal fritillary

The following insect species are included on the Michigan state list of threatened species:

  • Dryobius sexnotatus Linsley Six-banded longhorn beetle
  • Erynnis persius persius Scudder Persius dusky wing
  • Euphyes dukesi (Lindsey) Dukes’ skipper
  • Flexamia huroni Bess and Hamilton Huron River leafhopper
  • Hesperia ottoe Edwards Ottoe skipper
  • Incisalia henrici (Grote and Robinson) Henry’s elfin
  • Incisalia irus Godart Frosted elfin
  • Lycaeides idas nabokovi Masters Northern blue
  • Lycaeides melissa samuelis Nabakov Karner blue
  • Oarisma powesheik (Parker) Powesheik skipperling
  • Ophiogomphus howei Bromley Pygmy snaketail
  • Papaipema silphii Bird Silphium borer moth
  • Tachopteryx thoreyi (Hagen) Grey petaltail
  • Trimerotropis huroniana E. M. Walker Lake Huron locust

The following insect species are thought to be extirpated in Michigan, but will be listed automatically as threatened if rediscovered in the state:

  • Nicrophorus americanus Olivier American burying beetle

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Keys compiled from:

globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteAmerican Museum of Natural History - Key to Insect Orders

globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteVCSU - Macroinvertebrate Lab - Key to Aquatic Larval Insects

globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteAquatic Invertebrates Illustrated Field Guide

 globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteAn Introduction to Insect Life Cycles

Images Courtesy of:

globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteBioDiTRL

  • globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteHexagenia limbata - larvae
  • globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteChironomid Larvae

globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteOjibwe Nature Center

globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteCedar Creek Natural History Area

globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteAquatic Invertebrates Illustrated Field Guide

globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteTree of Life

Texas Cooperative Extension

  • globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteWater strider nymph

University of Florida - Biological Control of Invasive Plants

  • globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteBellura sp.

Beneficial Arthropods of Woody and Herbaceous Perennials - University of Nebraska

  • globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA sitebraconid wasp larvae

Links

globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteInsect Collections in the Great Lakes Region

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