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Week 10: Macro-invertibrates

Follow the folding

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Click the PDF icon for Week 6.

Set to print at 95% or fit to

page. Cut around the grey

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Week 10: Macro-invertibrates

Butterfly aren't the only insect that goes through a metamorphosis.

Dragonfly, Caddisfly and Mosquitoes also undergo an 

amazing transformation.  This week we will study their immature 

forms.  See if you can find all 3 in nature this week!  To get started,

click the PDF icon for Week 10.  Set to print at 95% or fit to page. 

Cut around the grey border before folding.



Macro Vocab


Macro-invertebrate: Animals without a backbone; large enough

to be seen with the naked eye; live on the bottom of streams,

lakes, and rivers. 


Aquatic: Water


Terrestrial: Land


Larva: The active immature form of an insect, especially one

that differs greatly from the adult and forms the stage between

egg and pupa. (Plural: larvae)


Caddisfly larva

Order: Trichoptera

Traits: 1 - 3 inches long, brown caterpillar-like bodies, 

use silk to make protective cases, which are strengthened

with gravel, sand, twigs, pieces of plants, or other debris
Habitat: Streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, vernal pools




Mosquito larva
Order: Diptera (True Flies)

Traits: Up to a half-inch long, brown, wriggling worm-like body,

hang upside down at water surface
Habitat: Still water found in swamps, vernal pools, ditches




Dragonfly larva
Order: Odonata 

Traits: Up to 1 inch, brown and bulky, 
large head and abdomen, short antennae

Habitat: Still or slow-moving water found in vernal

pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams



Pond Discovery

Take a walk to a nearby pond or stream with an ice-cube tray, spoon & net.  Fill the tray with water and use the spoon & net to collect various life in the water. Use the ID-guides on this page to identify what you have found. 

Make a Bug Net

- Mesh produce bag
- 8-inch plastic embroidery hoop
- Scissors
- 1/2-inch wooden dowel
- Colored wire


1. Loosen the screw on the 
embroidery hoop, and remove 
the center ring.

2. Wrap the mesh produce bag around the center ring,

then slide it back in the outer ring and re-fasten the screw.

3. Trim away any excess mesh fabric.

4. Wrap colored wire around the end of a wooden dowel,

then use the wire to attach the dowel to the embroidery

hoop to make a handle.

Build Your Own Macro Equipment

Click HERE to build some of your own equipment 

Bugs Don't Bug Me

Utah State University Water Quality Extension created this great

educational resource for grades K-6.  Click HERE to download.

Week 10:

Print & Fold

Pocket Nature Journal

caddisfly larva

Caddisfly larva

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Mosquito larva

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Mosquito pupa

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Mosquito larva


Dragonfly larva



Each week we feature a lesser known naturalist in our Pocket Journal Series.

In this space you will find the full quote and more information about the author. 


Pati Ortiz, Entymologist and professor in Costa Rica


From a song Pati wrote about lightning bugs -

“It’s time to tell you while I dance in the canopy/

That I’m the light you saw yesterday/

A secret code communicates where I am/

Sometimes what you see is a shock”


“Chica, do not fear. These creatures [aquatic macroinvertebrates] understand that life is fleeting. They are crushed as easily by a rock rolling down the river. They do not fear death because they understand it.” 


Pati Ortiz was a beloved and regionally renowned professor and entymologist in Costa Rica. Originally from Ecuador, she moved to the Monteverde region and began teaching students in sustainability and wildlife biology programs at the Monteverde Institute in 1997. In addition to teaching, Pati wrote music and created documentaries to highlight the importance of aquatic systems and the insects that lived in them. She readily integrated knowledge and respect of local human communities in all her lessons. Pati was beloved by her colleagues and students from around the world, who were inspired by her knowledge, her vivacity, and her passion. 


Pati was tragically killed as she protected one of her students in

a freak rock slide while visiting a local waterfall. At the time,

she was working on a documentary film to educate people on

the importance of keeping water clean, from source to the ocean.

Posthumously, a U.S. scientist, John Longino identified 33 new

species of predatory ants, 10 of which are found in Costa Rica.

In Pati’s honor, he named one Ortizae. “She was a rising star

of tropical biology,” Longino said. 


To hear Pati’s songs and see short videos of hers, visit her YouTube channels, here and here

Read more about Pati’s work in the Monteverde watershed

Read more about the ants named in her honor


Pati Ortiz in the field.

Pati enjoying one of her many loves.

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