The Importance of Aquatic Insects
Little importance is sometimes placed upon aquatic insects, tiny water-loving critters that feed on leaf litter and provide rich nutrients for fish and other mammals. A biologist from a university in Sweden has recently found that aquatic insects such as stoneflies and caddis flies play a large role in keeping streams healthy, which in turn, helps the environment, thus playing a role in human health and survival. Although many currently do not appreciate the key roles that water insects play in everyday life, many ecologists are starting to promote awareness of the importance of protecting nature’s tiny aquatic wildlife insects.
Aquatic insects play an important role in keeping fish healthy. Fish constantly seek food in streams, rivers, and oceans, some seeking it near the surface of (rather than exclusively inside) the water. Insects are incredibly nutritious and provide much needed protein to many species of fresh-water fish.
Leaf litter falls on the surface of water during the autumn and winter months. Aquatic insects consume much of this leaf litter, helping to decompose its structure. This aids in keeping water clean and free of unnecessary debris, and fertilizes lakes, rivers, and streams, keeping them healthy for other organisms. By providing clean and non-intrusive environments for insects to thrive, our streams and waterways may become more productive for humans and wildlife. Dead trees and other obtrusive matter across the channels of natural water bodies should also be kept in their place, as they help insects to flourish.