Characterization of benthic microhabitat: An experimental system for aquatic insects

Lewis L. Osborne, Edwin E. Herricks, Vahid Alavian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An experimental system used to determine microhabitat current velocity and microhabitat selection by aquatic insects is described. The experimental system includes a microvelocity probe and a hydraulically calibrated artificial substrate. A thermistor velocity probe detects flow velocities to 0.5 m s-1 near the surface of substrates at locations inhabited by aquatic insects. The artificial substrate was designed to provide two major habitat types, highly turbulent vortex areas and regions with unidirectional, near laminar flow. Substrate calibration and microhabitat characteristics of the substrates are demonstrated. Experimental studies of Simulium sp. location on substrates indicated that while simuliid larvae are characteristic of lotic, erosional habitats, actual microhabitats selected are governed by substantially lower flow velocity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-160
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1985


  • Simuliidae
  • aquatic insects
  • artificial substrate
  • current velocity
  • microhabitat
  • reynolds number

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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