Monitoring waterbugs is extremely useful for assessing the condition of our local creeks. This is because waterbugs are very easy to catch with simple equipment and they vary in their sensitivity to pollutants. 

Georges Riverkeeper monitors waterbugs in the creeks that flow into the Georges River, as a component of the River Health Program. These results are reported in Georges Riverkeeper's State of the Georges River report, River Health Report Cards and other publications.

In creeks that flow through urban areas we typically only find those waterbugs that are tolerant - to very tolerant - of pollution, including dragonfly nymphs, backswimmers, snails, worms and leeches.

Photography by Michelle McFarlane.

This contrasts with the high diversity that we find in forested streams, which can support both the waterbugs that are tolerant of pollution and those that are sensitive or very sensitive to pollution, including mayfly nymphs, dragonfly larvae, caddisfly larvae, beetles and waterpennies.

YouTube Video

Marion Huxley, Georges Riverkeeper Aquatic Ecologist, shows us how to catch water bugs. Have a look at some of the creatures she caught at Maddens Creek in the upper Georges River. Water bug samples can help tell us if the river is healthy or polluted.

This video is part of the education resources for primary schools, developed by Georges Riverkeeper in collaboration with Georges River Environmental Education Centre.