Cayuga Nature Center   Smith Woods   Total species found
  3 9       0     3 9


Macroinvertebrates are organisms without backbones, which are visible to the eye without the aid of a microscope. Aquatic Macroinvertebrates live on, under, and around rocks and sediment on the bottoms of lakes, rivers, and streams. Fly-fishers often try to fool their trout quarry by matching artificial flies to emerging aquatic insects. 

Macroinvertebrate communities are a fascinating and diverse group of aquatic consumers and detritivores processing live organic material and consuming decomposing organic matter. Macroinvertebrates also serve as prey for various fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammal species. While not readily visible, aquatic invertebrates are found in all types of habitats from small streams, to ponds to spring seeps. Aquatic Macroinvertebrates preform numerous ecological roles, contributing to the structure and function of every aquatic environment in the Cayuga basin. There are 10 orders of insects that possess aquatic representatives during at least part of their life cycle. Fossil and genetic evidence show terrestrial insect wings evolved from gill-like appendages that were present in the aquatic ancestors of both insects and crustaceans. Modern day taxa of aquatic insects re-colonized freshwaters approximately 200 mya. Aquatic macroinvertebrates are often used in bioassessment protocols, which help us understand how humans are impacting the environment. 

At the BioBlitz the larvae of Crambus sp. Were found. Crambus sp. - a moth (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae_ has aquatic larvae. While the species is not 'rare' per se, finding one of the aquatic larvae is. Larvae construct protective silken nets or felt-like canopies on submerged plants or stony substrates from which they extend to graze on periphyton. Adults emerge by swimming up to the surface with their wings and then live for about two weeks. 


Team lead was Kelly Wessell, Chair of Environmental Studies at TC3 who worked with Jeremy Dietrich, an environmental consultant with Ichthyological Associates, LLC and an invertebrate taxonomist at Cornell University. Vanessa Covert, Carrie D'Aprix, Nadia Shevchenko, TC3 students at the time also participated, as did Phil Koons, and Franny Lux who worked for the Floating Classroom. Franny is also a high school student at Lehman Alternative Community School in Ithaca.