New specimen type: Aquatic insects

We are excited to embark on a new insect-themed expedition, Aquatic Insects of the Southeastern United States. This expedition will delve into the ‘wet’ portion of the Clemson University Arthropod Collection, where vast holdings of aquatic insects are preserved and curated. Aquatic insects are a very diverse group, covering some members of nearly all the insect orders (from larval flies to adult beetles), and all the members of several large orders, like mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, and dragon- and damselflies.

Aquatic insects are important because most have rather narrow environmental tolerances, and are very sensitive to changes in water temperature and quality – they are important sentinels, or canaries in the aquatic coal mine, helping scientists and environmental professionals measure aquatic ecosystem health and water quality. By improving our understanding of their historical distributions around the southeastern United States, we will be that much better able to assess and interpret modern and future changes in their distributions and abundances.

Participants in this expedition will encounter members of most of the major aquatic groups (as well as a few other soft-bodied insects preserved in our alcoholic collections.) The specimens come largely from the higher elevations of western South Carolina, but specimens from the lowcountry, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and other southeastern states pop up here and there as well. Most of these come directly or indirectly from the efforts of Dr. John Morse (a caddisfly specialist who’s been at Clemson for over 40 years!), his students, and their collaborators. So these records will also contribute greatly to our appreciation of his/their enormous contributions to understanding southeastern aquatic insect biodiversity.
We hope you’ll join us!

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