Stream Entomology

Entomology is the study of insects, in this case aquatic insects. A majority of the illustrations you will see on these pages were drawn by Rick Harrington. He is a professional illustrator and a close friend. If you wish to use the illustrations for any reason you must ask permission first. The contact information for Rick Harrington is 716-346-0772.

All of the Illustrations found here are original or used with permission. The Izaak Walton League of America has graciously allowed the Seth Green TU Chapter to use their images from their Stream Study website. On their web site you can also find a good set of macroinvertabrate keys. George Cook has edited the content located here. He is a graduate student of aquatic biology at SUNY Brockport.

About the Keys

Keys are a way of keying in on certain characteristics of an insect. These characteristics can tell you what stage of life the insects in then the order and family the insect is from. To get to the genus and species level you will need an adult insect. While using the keys you must pay close attention to the description and not weight your final evaluation on the illustrations. With this first set of keys you should be able to get to the order of the insect you have found. Hopes are to have a full set of keys identifying the families of common aquatic insects ovewr time.

Collection of Aquatic Insects

Please remember it is ILLEGAL to collect aquatic insects from streams in New York State without a permit. If you ignore this warning please be careful not to collect to frequently at the same location it may have serious effects on the ecology.

Recommended Reading

Entomology for Fly Fisherman; by Sarah J. McBride, 1st published in Rochester Express March 3, 1877


  • Izaak Walton League of America Stream Study Home page
  • W. Patric McCafferty. Aquatic Entomology, Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers 1981
  • Hafele & Roederer. An Angler’s Guide To Aquatic Insects and their Imitations, Boulder Colorado: Johnson Printing 1995
  • Ernest Schwiebert. NYMPHS, New York: Winchester Press 1973
  • Dave Hughes. HANDBOOK OF HATCHES, Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books 1987
  • Caucci & Nastasi. Compara-Hatch, Henryville, PA: Comparahatch Ltd 1973
  • Gary LaFontaine. Caddisflies, New York, NY: Lyons & Burford 1981