Waterbugs provide us with an indication of the health of our waterways.
Their presence or absence is used to assess river health.

What are waterbugs?

Waterbugs, or aquatic macroinvertebrates, are small creatures that have no backbone and can be seen with the naked eye. They live all or part of their life in the water, providing a food source for larger animals such as fish, frogs, birds and platypus.
Waterbugs include snails, beetles, dragonflies, yabbies and worms.

Where are they found?

Waterbugs live in different habitats within waterways. They can be found:

  • above the surface
  • on the surface
  • among vegetation and debris
  • beneath the surface
  • in open water
  • among rocks, litter and sediment.



Waterbugs 2

The Waterbug App

Waterbugs are important to aquatic environments and we conduct surveys of them to help assess the health of waterways. In this activity you are going to learn how to identify waterbugs using The Waterbug App from home. You don’t even have to get your feet wet!

Step 1

Download The Waterbug App onto your phone or tablet.

The Waterbug App iOS The Waterbug App Android

Step 2

Imagine you’re at your favourite local waterway. You have been using a net and a bucket to collect some waterbugs by swishing it through the water. Now you have sorted and organised all the waterbugs you found into an icecube tray and they are pictured on the ‘What Waterbug Am I?’ activity sheet. We’re now ready to start identifying them using The Waterbug App.

Step 3

Open The Waterbug App and select IDENTIFY. Then use the KEY to start identifying your waterbugs. Stop when you get to Order and record this next to the waterbug you’ve identified. You can also use SPEEDBUG to help as well.

Videos via www.waterbugblitz.org.au/Resources show how to complete a full survey and use the App if you need help.

Remember – Please do not submit this data via the App.

Waterbugs across the catchment

Across the catchment the water quality can be Good, Fair and Poor. Different waterbugs live in these conditions and are represented in this illustration.

You can download the following image as a POSTER or as a POSTER SERIES.

Waterbugs living in the catchment