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Tarantula hawk

Macroinvertebrates at the Wash

The most common creatures found along the Las Vegas Wash are also some of the most misunderstood and underappreciated. Made up mostly of insects, the term ‘macroinvertebrate’ refers to all animals without a defined vertebrae (including crustaceans, mollusks and worms) that are large enough to see with the naked eye. Their abundance and varied sensitivities to environmental changes make them good biological indicators of the health of a body of water or terrestrial ecosystem. With weir installations changing flow dynamics and weed removal and native revegetation changing plant assemblages, understanding the macroinvertebrate community is a great way to determine the health of the Wash.

Benthic macroinvertebrate study

The purpose of the benthic macroinvertebrate study was to determine how erosion control structures and associated wetlands impact the aquatic macroinvertebrate fauna of the Las Vegas Wash. This kick-net survey collected samples from 26 sites along the Wash and its tributaries and analyzed them for the variety and abundance of species collected.

Terrestrial macroinvertebrate studies

In addition to surveys conducted within the water of the Las Vegas Wash, surveys also are conducted to better understand the invertebrates found out of the water. Collections and identifications are made year-round in all types of habitats — emergent vegetation, riparian areas, mesquite bosques and upland desert.

One study compared butterfly populations in areas mostly covered by non-native vegetation (common reed and salt cedar) to areas revegetated with native species. The study showed that areas with native vegetation had higher abundance and diversity of insects than areas dominated by non-native species

Macroinvertebrate studies

Taxa list
Order Family Genus/Species
Nematoda Mermithidae  
Oligochaeta Enchytraeidae  
  Tubificidae Limnodrilus hoffmeisteri
  Naididae Nais sp.
    Dero sp.
    Pristina sp.
Turbellaria Planariidae Dugesia sp.
Nemertea Hoplonemertea Prostoma sp.
Bivalvia Veneroidea Corbicula fluminalis
Gastropoda Physidae Physella sp.
  Lymnaeidae Fossaria sp.
Crustacea Ostracoda  
  Decapoda Pacifastacus leniusculus
    Procambarus clarkii
Hydracarina Acari  
Odonata: Zygoptera Coenagrionidae Argia sedula
    Enallagma civile
    Ischnura sp.
  Calopterygidae Hetaerina americana
Odonata: Anisoptera Aeshnidae Anax junius
  Libellulidae Brechmorhoga mendax
    Dythemis sp.
    Macrothemis sp.
  Gomphidae Erpetogomphus sp.
    Ophiogomphus sp.
Ephemeroptera Baetidae Fallceon quilleri
    Camelobaetidius musseri sp.
    Callibaetis sp.
Hemiptera Veliidae Microvelia sp.
  Corixidae Trichocorixa sp.
  Notonectidae Notonecta sp.
Trichoptera Brachycentridae Micrasema sp.
  Glossosomatidae Glossosoma sp.
  Hydropsychidae Smicridea sp.
    Hydropsyche sp.
  Hydroptilidae Hydroptila sp.
    Oxyethira sp.
  Limnephilidae Ecclisomyia sp.
Coleoptera Dytiscidae Neoclypeodytes sp.
  Elmidae Heterlimnius sp.
    Zaitzevia sp.
  Hydraenidae Hydraena sp.
  Hydrophilidae Tropisternus sp.
    Berosus sp.
    Enochrus sp.
Lepidoptera Pyralidae Petrophila sp.
Diptera Ceratopoginidae Bezzia sp.
    Forcipomyia sp.
  Culicidae Anopheles sp.
    Culex sp.
  Empididae Hemerodromia sp.
  Ephydridae Notiphila sp.
  Muscidae Limnophora sp.
  Psychodidae Pericoma sp.
  Sciomyzidae Sepedon sp.
  Simuliidae Simulium sp.
  Stratiomyidae Caloparyphus sp.
    Euparyphus sp.
    Nemotelus sp.
    Odontomyia sp.
  Tipulidae Antocha sp.
    Erioptera sp.
    Limonia sp.
    Ormosia sp.
  Chironomidae Ablabesmyia sp.
    Chironomus sp.
    Cladotanytarsus sp.
    Corynoneura sp.
    Cricotopus (Cricotopus)Group
    Cricotopus (Cricotopus) bicinctus
    Cryptochironomus sp.
    Diamesa sp.
    Dicrotendipes sp.
    Endotribelos sp.
    Eukiefferiella Pseudomontana Group
    Glyptotendipes sp.
    Goeldichironomus sp.
    Labrundinia sp.
    Microtendipes sp.
    Nanocladius sp.
    Nimbocera sp.
    Parachironomus sp.
    Paramerina sp.
    Parametriocnemus sp.
    Paraphaenocladius sp.
    Paratanytarsus sp.
    Paratendipes sp.
    Polypedilum sp.
    Procladius sp.
    Saetheria sp.
    Tanytarsus sp.
    Telmatopelopia sp.
    Thienemanniella sp.
    Thienemannimyia sp.
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