Macroinvertebrates are animals without a backbone that are large enough to see without a microscope. In the river, they include animals from such varied groups as insects, crustaceans, worms, and mollusks. As well as comprising an important part of the aquatic food web, macroinvertebrates are also key bioindicators of water quality. Some macroinvertebrates are highlighted below.
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- Insects (larvae): Caddisfies, Dobsonflies, Stoneflies, Craneflies, Damselflies and Dragonflies
- Insects (adults): Waterboatman, Water scorpions and Water striders
- Crustaceans: Crayfish, Scuds and Sowbugs
- Mollusks: Snails (both gilled and lunged), Mussels (including Zebra mussels), and Clams
- Worms: Leeches and Planaria
- Ecology of the Chicago Region: Macroinvertebrates
- Macroinvertebrates of the Chicago River
- Macroinvertebrate Fact Sheet
- Key to Macroinvertebrate Life in the River
- Macroinvertebrate Identification Key - Illinois RiverWatch
- A Selection of Aquatic Macroinvertebrates of Illinois
- Freshwater Mussels of the Upper Mississippi River
- River Life Stories: dobsonfly larvae, mussels and clams, freshwater sponge and virile crayfish