Waterbug census

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Waterbugs let us know how healthy our water is, and you can too. By joining the Waterbug Census and monitoring your local macroinvertebrates, you’ll help us check the health of our rivers and creeks.

COVID-19 UPDATE:
Like many businesses, we're doing our bit to assist in limiting the spread of COVID-19. This involves changing the way we are working including enabling staff to work from home and implementing social distancing practices.
This has impacted on all scheduled citizen science workshops. Therefore, we are unable to hold any waterbug training sessions involving face-to-face activities until further notice.

Waterbug monitoring takes place in autumn and spring at specific sites across Melbourne. Volunteers who want to participate in this program receive free training to learn water sampling and identification skills.  

This citizen science program involves learning how to:

  1. Collect a sample of waterbugs from your local waterway
  2. Pour them into viewing trays and sort the different bugs
  3. Identify each bug type and record it on your data sheet.

Learn more about macroinvertebrates and how we monitor them, in the following video.

Data collection and use

Waterbug data is collected using the Agreed Level Taxonomy method, which ensures data quality and consistency across monitoring sites. The information supports ongoing research and helps us track waterway health — as well contributing to national biodiversity records through the Atlas of Living Australia.

Education resources

Waterbug identification guide and resources

Guide to running waterbug sessions

Meet the waterbugs (F-Year 2)

The life of waterbugs (Years 3-4)

Waterbug and platypus adaptations (Years 5-6)

Identifying waterbugs (Years 7-8)

Find out more

Identification and ecology of Australian freshwater invertebrates: Check out the interactive bug guide managed by the Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems (formerly the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre)

Contact us

For more information on any of our activities or programs:

Last updated:
17 June 2020