What are they

Water bugs are a whole collection of bizarre and wonderful creatures that spend some or all of their lives in waterways. Some are soft and squishy, some have hard crusts on their bodies, and some carry a 'home' wherever they go. Scientists call them aquatic macroinvertebrates. Scientists call them aquatic macroinvertebrates (pronounced mac-ro-in-vert-ah-bruts). They are 'macro' meaning visible to the eye and 'invertebrates' as they have no backbone!

They look strange and fascinating. They live weird lives and many have disgusting habits, including their breathing organs in the same location as their bottoms. You find them in ponds, streams, estuaries and stormwater and irrigation drains. You may even find some in your swimming pool!

Many are insects, like beetles, and nymphs that are juvenile flying insects. Some are tiny crabs and prawns. There are also snails, worms and maggots. Fish, frogs and birds depend on these spineless creatures for food, and are an important part of the food chain for aquatic ecosystems.

NSW water bug survey

NSW Waterwatch conducts two main water bug surveys each year which involves a number of community groups, volunteers, schools, land managers and anyone wishing to be involved in Waterwatch activities.

NSW Waterwatch has developed a database which will allow groups or individuals to register on the NSW Waterwatch database and record their data from samples collected in the field. This data is then used to inform government and the community on the health of waterways. Existing users can login at NSW Bug Survey, if you have forgotten your password you can request it here.

Note: Before registering, groups and individuals are advised to contact their Catchment Management Authority to speak with a Waterwatch Coordinator who can assist with preparations and provide support where necessary.

If you have any trouble accessing these pages or if you have any questions relating to the database please contact your local Waterwatch Coordinator or Catchment Management Authority on the contacts page.

Page last updated: 03 March 2011