Benthic Macroinvertebrate Resources

Provided here are a wide variety of resources that will help you become more familiar with benthic macroinvertebrates.  There are examples of simple field guides, family-level manuals and a wide variety of additional resources.  You may begin your study by choosing one of the links from the list of resource below.

Note: Many of the links below are or include portable document files (pdf).

  WV Save our Streams benthic Illustrations are courtesy of the Cacapon Institute and artist Jennifer Gillies.
  1. WV Save Our Streams Program Guide to Aquatic Invertebrates: Multiple websites that provide background information and descriptions for a wide variety of aquatic invertebrate families found in our state waters.
  2. WVDEP-PIO Enviro-Fact Sheet benthics, AMD, water quality and more
  3. Cacapon Institute's Benthic Portal: CI's portal offers a variety of learning activities related to to stream surveys and macroinvertebrate identification.  
  4. Guide to Aquatic Invertebrates of the Mid-Atlantic (MD DNR)
  5. Guide to Aquatic Invertebrates of the Upper Midwest (University of MN: Water Resource Center)
  6. University of Minnesota's Volunteer Stream Monitoring Interactive Verification Program
  7. Atlas of common macroinvertebrates. Explore this resource to support Citizen Scientist identification activities.
Various Guides and Identification Keys  
  1. From WV Save Our Streams: Level-one [BMI-ID field guide and Couplet-Key];  Level-two [Field guide and an advanced dichotomous key
  2. More field guides etc: MO Stream Team's basic Identification chart; Virginia SOS identification resources; University of Wisconsin's Key to pond life and Key to river life; Stroud Water Research Center dichotomous key; Guide to Common Mayfly of Britain; IOWAWATER benthic macro-invertebrate keyNW Nature Net macroinvertebrates of Washington and Oregon; Minnesota DNR basic dochotomous key
Additional Information  
  1. Identification Activity: Practise your macroinvertebrate identification skills
  2. Click-Here to learn more about ecosystem services aquatic invertebrates provide
  3. Effects of mountaintop coal mining on benthic communities (US EPA's Biological Team)                
  4. Image-based key to stream insects. University of New Hampshire, Dept. of Biological Sciences
  5. Nature Net's Macroinvertebrate and Water Quality Resoruces 
  6. NY Dept. of Conservation Freshwater Macroinvertebrates of NY
  7. On-line key to macroinvertebrates of ponds and rivers
  8. Stroud Water Research Macroinvertebrate Gallery
  9. WVDEP’s Benthic macroinvertebrate video ( 28-min)
  10. More benthic macroinvertebrate resources   
Click-Here to learn how WVDEP's Watershed Assessment Branch uses benthic macroinvertebrates to determine the biological integrity of our streams and rivers 

Note: If your organization decides to complete independant surveys that includes aquatic collections, you must apply for and receive a Scientific Collection Permit from the WVDNR [§20-2-50].