Water bugs

City of Gold Coast workers inspecting water bugs

Water bugs, more accurately called aquatic macroinvertebrates, are small animals without a backbone that live all or part of their lives in water. They include dragonfly larvae, mosquito larvae, water fleas, beetles and snails.

Water bugs offer important functions in aquatic environments, as they:

  • recycle nutrients by scavenging (sifting) dead or decaying (rotting) bacteria, plants and animals
  • provide a vital food source for native fish, birds, platypus, frogs and reptiles
  • serve as a great biological indicator of waterway health.

Water bugs & water quality

Water bugs live in our freshwater waterways and are highly sensitive to changes in the water. Each water bug has certain sensitivities to pollution or changes to water quality. A healthy waterway will have a large number of different types of water bugs present. By sampling water bug community types and numbers we can better understand waterway health. To learn more, go to Water quality monitoring programs.