Aquatic Insects of Michigan
Ethan Bright, Museum of Zoology Insect Division and School of Natural
Resources and Environment
Environmental managers, researchers and students now have a comprehensive and authoritative resource for learning about Michigan's aquatic insect fauna.
Beginning with the resources and information here at the University of Michigan, this project will expand to include information from other research collections and institutions as well as investigators/collectors. The author would greatly appreciate information, collaboration or assistance as well as comments people would like to give regarding changes and additions to the information contained herein by emailing the author. I hope this project and web site is useful and enjoyable.
Pages contained in this project are accessed with the heirarchical menu to the left. The first item in the menu contains administrative project information, e.g., home page access, project/page updates, etc. Information about aquatic insects per se are in three sections:
Species Lists. Species-lists and site locality information are displayed. Previous species-lists that were available on the WWW have been redesigned and incorporated into this larger project to document the distribution of freshwater insects in the state of Michigan. The lengthy species list pages of the past have been removed in favor of smaller family list pages that are easily accessed using a navigation bar that appears to the left of the main frame. Currently, species-lists exist for most groups. Users will be able to determine what species have been recorded - or are likely to be recorded - from Michigan. In the future, as information becomes available and specimens processed, Michigan record localities will also be site-indicated using GIS-generated maps for each respective species with known latitude-longitude or TRS location. For now, species with verified Michigan localities are shown with bold lettering; species known from nearby locations and are likely to be found in Michigan are shown in regular lettering. Currently this part of the project is in its most advanced stage.
2) Identification Resources and Keys. Taxonomic and other identification resources provide users with information necessary to identify aquatic insects from our region. At first borrowing heavily from published literature, this section hopefully will be improved through the contributions of active researchers and taxonomic/systematic experts. Keys and other diagnostic resources are being developed for most groups, although this is not currently possible for some of the larval and pupal holometabolous groups, especially family- and genus-level keys. Species-level keys may also appear if other people can lend their help with this project.
Much work remains to be done. First, with the exception of Odonata (thanks to the recent work of the Michigan Odonata Society) and Megaloptera (few but relatively easily sampled taxa), all aquatic insect groups have been incompletely surveyed in Michigan. Reasonably updated lists have been constructed for most orders, but doubtless additional taxa will be added with more thorough state-wide collecting efforts. Second, most surveys address ecosystem management issues and often the principal investigator(s) and/or specimen processors have lacked sufficient taxonomic expertise or the resources necessary to create voucher and reference collections for their respective collection sites. As a result, literally hundreds of thousands of specimens languish in jars and vials with simple family or generic-level determinations, and are often not accessible to zoology departments and qualified taxonomists. Further, many if not most of these specimens are larval specimens whose forms lack associated adult life stages that are often required of species-specific level identification. A well-surveyed fauna with information accurately correlating species to actual environmental parameters (much less elucidating population dynamics) probably will require decades of well-supported work. It is time that this effort commence, if only to provide the additional conservational impetus and protection from the accelerating environmental damage.
Last updated: August 15, 2011 (EB)