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What Lives in or Near Our Water?

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Presentation on theme: "What Lives in or Near Our Water?"— Presentation transcript:

1 What Lives in or Near Our Water?
Have slide up for Engagement purposes. See how many the students know. Ask what else they might find in or near streams in our community. Fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals – accept all answers for now.

2 Fish Catfish Bluegill Shiners and chubs
Some fish of small streams. Others include darters, sculpins, various minnows, and young of other species. Larger rivers will have larger fish too. Some of the strange ones in KY are the gars, bowfins and paddlefish. Catfish Bluegill

3 Amphibians Tadpoles Leopard Frog Bull Frog
Frogs and toads tend to use standing water for egg laying, but you may find some tadpoles in pool areas of creeks. Adult frogs and toads may be seen or heard around creeks. Bull Frog

4 Amphibians Mudpuppy – retains gills throughout life
Salamander larvae are often found in streams. The gills are visible and legs usually are present too. They may also be found in ponds and wetlands. Salamanders – Larvae have gills, legs

5 Reptiles Red-eared slider Adult Snapper
The largest turtle in KY waterways is the Alligator Snapper found in far western KY. The common snapper and sliders are quite common in streams of various sizes. You might also find the softshell turtle in streams. Note the flattened shell indicative of stream dwelling turtles as opposed to the dome shaped shell of the box turtle which is a land turtle. Adult Snapper

6 Reptiles Queen Snake – common in our area - non-venomous
The only venomous snake likely to be found in water is the Water Moccasin or Cottonmouth. It is found ONLY in the wetlands of far Western KY. There are no venomous water snakes in Central or Eastern KY. The copperhead may be found throughout the state, but it is most likely to be found away from water. In the eastern part of the state, there are rattlesnake species, but they are woodland species. Northern Water Snake – aggressive but non-venomous

7 Birds Eastern Kingfisher Green Heron Red-winged Blackbird
Many birds utilize the banks of the streams as nesting sites. Some use the stream as a source of food. The Kingfisher and Green Heron are two “fishing” birds. The Red-winged blackbird nests in cattails on the shore. Other species likely to be encountered are bank swallows, Great Blue Herons, and a myriad of song birds. Green Heron Red-winged Blackbird

8 Mammals Raccoon Mink Muskrat Beaver
Raccoons are commonly encountered along streams – at least their footprints are. Mink and muskrat live along the banks and utilize the stream as a source of food. In recent years, the beaver has made its way back to Kentucky and is already a nuisance in some places. Muskrat Beaver

9 None of the previous animals are used to indicate the quality of water in an area – they are nice to find, but are often the first to go if the water is not good.

10 Indicators of Water Quality
Macroinvertebrates – without backbones, large enough to be seen Many of the macroinvertebrates are insect larvae that spend part of their life cycle as aquatic organism.

11 The macroinvertebrates are divided into groups based on their tolerance of poor water conditions.
Group I – indicators of good water quality. These have low tolerance of pollutants. Group II – indicators of fair water quality. These have moderate tolerance of pollutants. Make sure the students understand the groupings. The next slides are the actual macroinvertebrates and students should label them on their handouts. Group III – indicators of poor water quality. These have high tolerance of pollutants and low oxygen levels.

12 1 Stonefly adult Stonefly nymph Food for many fish
Only the nymphs are counted in the survey. Nymphs are the immature stages of some insects that undergo an incomplete metamorphosis. Stonefly nymph Food for many fish 1

13 1 Mayfly adult Mayfly nymph Adult only lives for a day or so to mate.
Gills are present along the abdomen. Mayfly nymph Adult only lives for a day or so to mate. 1 Food for many fish

14 1 Dobsonfly larva Dobsonfly adult
Larvae are the immature stages of insects that undergo a complete metamorphosis. Hellgrammites are insects with six legs. The extra appendages are found only in the larval stage. Gills are also present along the base of the extra appendages. Adults only live for a few days to mate. Also called a hellgrammite. Food for many fish – good bait too! 1

15 1 Caddisfly adult Caddisfly larva
Most often only the cases will be visible. Careful extraction of a case may reveal the caddisfly inside. Caddisfly larva Found in little cases of sand and sticks on the bottom of rocks. 1

16 1 Water penny larva Type of beetle - found on the bottom of rocks.
The drawing on the right is the underside – note the presence of six legs and feathery gills. Type of beetle - found on the bottom of rocks. 1

17 2 Crane fly larva Crane fly adult
Adults look like giant mosquitoes – they do not bite and are lousy fliers. These are not the water striders that might also be found. Horsefly and deerfly larvae are similar. Large (1 – 2 inches) and slug-like. Horse fly and deer fly larvae are smaller an stiffer than the Crane fly larva. 2

18 2 Damselfly nymph Dragonfly nymph
Adults hold wings together when resting. Dragonfly nymph Damselfly nymphs are usually found in the “weedy” areas. The feather-like structures are gills. Some dragonfly nymphs have an elongated abdomen. The lower jaw of the dragonfly nymph is hinged and can be extended well beyond its mouth to catch prey. Larvae are voracious predators – often catching fish and tadpoles! Adults hold wings parallel when resting. 2

19 2 Crayfish or Crawdads - Decapods
Crustacean – shell on the outside. Look like small lobsters Holes in the banks or “chimneys” in the fields near the stream are made by some species of crayfish Everyone knows the crayfish. Decapods – ten legs (feet). First pair is defense and display, next pair has claws too for eating, the rest are walking legs. The crayfish also propels itself backwards by flipping its tail. Females carry eggs and young under the abdomen. 2

20 2 Scuds or side swimmers - Amphipods Sow bugs - Isopods
Crustaceans too – about ½ to and inch long. Scuds are found in vegetation, Sow bugs under the rocks. There is a land version of the sow bug the students are probably familiar with. Crustaceans – shell on the outside. Look like tiny shrimp Crustaceans– related to the “roly-polys” found under rocks on land. 2

21 Beetle larvae Alderfly larva Not commonly found, but look carefully. 2

22 2 Clams and Mussels – Mollusks
The most common clam in small streams is the Asian Clam – an invasive species that is replacing many of the smaller native clams and mussels. These are filter feeders – siphons bring water into the animal and nutrients are removed 2

23 3 Leeches Aquatic worms Flat worms - Planaria
Segmented worms – only some are blood suckers. Good bait too! Flat worms - Planaria Not all leeches are bloodsuckers. They move in a somersaulting manner or swim like an eel. Females may be encountered with eggs on the underside. Small “earthworms” with little color might be the aquatic worms. The planaria are about ½ inch and found attached to the bottom of rocks. Simple organisms – look carefully on the bottom of rocks 3

24 3 Midge larva Blackfly larva
This insect larva has a suction cup on one end to anchor it to rocks. This insect larva lives in the silt and on leaves. Some are called a “blood worms” due to red color. Blackfly larvae can be encountered in mass – sometimes the only organism visible in streams high in organic pollutants. The Midge larvae are difficult to see due to their size – sift around in the silt to find them. 3

25 1 Left hand snails – have lung-like organs and breathe air - can live in polluted water Right hand snails – have gills and need water with higher oxygen levels Hold the snails with the tip up to determine the right or left hand twist. Sinistral – Latin for left. Evil, bad! Dextral – Latin for right. 3

26 The key to a healthy stream is its BIODIVERSITY – finding a wide variety of macroinvertebrates is best. If only Group III organisms are found, you should be concerned about the health of the stream. The Tally Sheet helps you to determine the biodiversity and health of the stream.

27 Poor 0 - 11 Excellent 23+ Fair 12 - 16 Good 17 - 22
Macroinvertebrate Tally Group I Taxa Tally Group II Taxa Group III Taxa Water Penny Larvae Damselfly Nymphs Blackfly Larvae Mayfly Nymphs Dragonfly Nymphs Aquatic Worm, Planaria Dobsonfly Larvae Cranefly Larvae Midge Larvae Caddisfly Larvae Beetle Larvae Left-hand Snails Right-hand Snails Crayfish Leeches Riffle Beetle Adults Scuds (sideswimmers) Clams/Mussels Sowbugs (isopods) Alderfly Larvae Number of Taxa present Times Index value of (3): Times Index value of (2): Times Index value of (1): Total Index Value: Biological Quality Assessment Scale Point out the multipliers of each group – Group I gets multiplied by 3, Group II by 2 and Group III by 1. The total score is added up and compared to the scale to determine stream health. Poor Excellent 23+ Fair Good

28 Dichotomous Key of macroinvertebrates.

29 Sources of line drawings:
You may download, copy, or distribute this guide for educational purposes but not for resale. For more information contact Kentucky WaterWatch: Pictures A Golden Guide – Pond Life St. Martin’s Press Other sites for guides:

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