Aquatic Insects of Michigan

by Ethan Bright, Museum of Zoology Insect Division and School of Natural Resources and Environment
University of Michigan

+ Species Lists
+ Identification/Keys
Aquatic Insects of Michigan - Frequently Asked Questions

Why This Project?

To provide students, researchers and others interested in aquatic insects resources to better understand the aquatic entomofauna in Michigan. Students in an aquatic entomology course that I have helped teach have often expressed frustration regarding being able to know what taxa may (or may not) occur here, information usually not specifically provided in regional or national entomological identification guides. In course of trying to make this information available, I decided to expand the project to incorporate information regarding specific distribution (to be implemented with maps), identification (on-line keys at a future date, and K-12 resources) and biology, and sources of reference materials. As you can imagine, this is an ambitious project that will take some time to get going, which is why I am open to collaboration or participation from other researchers and individuals with a similar interest.


During the author's current doctoratal program, Dr. Barry O'Connor and Mr. Mark O'Brien of the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Insect Division, and Dr. Michael Wiley (my advisor) of the School of Natural Resources and Environment, have supported my efforts to curate the aquatic insect collection deposited at the UMMZ-Insect Division, during which I have physically organized and computer databased much of this information in useable forms. The Aquatic Insects of Michigan is one form in which my curatorial efforts, and the distributional and taxonomic information it has produced, can be communicated to the general public.

When I took my first aquatic entomology course back in 1992 as a beginning masters student, the lack of readily available taxonomic information to permit species-level identification of the many aquatic insects collected was quite frustrating. Since then my work at UMMZ has allowed me to collect many taxonomic and systematic works (some of which were very difficult to obtain), allowing me to identify most of the aquatic insects encountered in our state and the Great Lakes region. Putting together updated keys and identification tools is a way of addressing some of the frustrations I felt as a beginning entomology student, and giving future students identification resources that they otherwise would not be able to obtain.

Page created: March 28, 2003 (EB)
Last update: January 31, 2006 (EB)