Plecoptera (Insecta) Diversity in Indiana: A Watershed-Based Analysis

Evan A. Newman, R. Edward Dewalt, Scott A. Grubbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plecoptera, an environmentally sensitive order of aquatic insects commonly used in water quality monitoring is experiencing decline across the globe. This study addresses the landscape factors that impact the species richness of stoneflies using the US Geological Survey Hierarchical Unit Code 8 drainage scale (HUC8) in the state of Indiana. Over 6300 specimen records from regional museums, literature, and recent efforts were assigned to HUC8 drainages. A total of 93 species were recorded from the state. The three richest of 38 HUC8s were the Lower East Fork White (66 species), the Blue-Sinking (58), and the Lower White (51) drainages, all concentrated in the southern unglaciated part of the state. Richness was predicted using nine variables, reduced from 116 and subjected to AICc importance and hierarchical partitioning. AICc importance revealed four variables associated with Plecoptera species richness, topographic wetness index, HUC8 area, % soil hydrolgroup C/D, and % historic wetland ecosystem. Hierarchical partitioning indicated topographic wetness index, HUC8 area, and % cherty red clay surface geology as significantly important to predicting species richness. This analysis highlights the importance of hydrology and glacial history in species richness of Plecoptera. The accumulated data are primed to be used for monograph production, niche modeling, and conservation status assessment for an entire assemblage in a large geographic area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number672
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Aquatic insects
  • Hierarchical unit codes
  • Species richness
  • Stoneflies
  • USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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