Aquatic insects and their societal benefits and risks
G. Achuthan Nair, John C. Morse, Stephen A. Marshall
Information on the aquatic insects and their benefits and risks to the society are scanty among the general public, students and the scientific community, when compared with the same on the land forms. In this article, an attempt is made to overcome this deficiency. A brief description is furnished along with the representative photographs of eleven orders of aquatic insects. These orders are Collembola (springtails), Ephemeroptera (mayflies), Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), Plecoptera (stoneflies), Hemiptera (true bugs), Megaloptera (dobsonflies and alderflies), Neuroptera (songillaflies), Trichoptera (caddisflies), Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), Coleoptera (beetles) and Diptera (true flies). Detailed information is presented on the beneficial role of aquatic insects in food webs, biomonitoring, fishing and control of noxious weeds. The harmful impacts caused by these animals to the society and the ecosystem by way of general nuisance, transmission of diseases and destruction of crops, are described. The importance of the need for a new generation of aquatic entomologists, is stressed.