The Waterbug Workshop 10 

1 – 3 July 2015

Monash University (Clayton, Victoria – Australia)


Download a Flyer 

– email John if you have any questions…

Registration CLOSES – June 3rd 2015

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Waterbug Workshop Overview

The Waterbug Workshop is designed to give participants the skills to identify aquatic macroinvertebrates (waterbugs) to Order and Family Level (if you are interested in genus level identification skills, we would like to hear from you and we can organise more advanced workshops if needed).

In the course of the workshop participants are taught how to use taxonomic keys to identify waterbugs. The participants are then taken through the array of common families of aquatic macroinvertebrates from the easiest to the hardest to identify. Participants are encouraged to bring their own material that they want to identify at the workshop, this ensures that the knowledge they take home is relevant to them and not just based on a random set of animals that we found in Tom’s farm dam the week before. The emphasis of the workshop is on building the skills to interpret the key descriptions rather than on parrot learning as many groups as possible. Hi-tech lab equipment is utilised to demonstrate the key identification features of each group as well as ‘dead giveaways’, shortcuts and ‘folklore’ material that will make your identification process that much easier and infinitely more fun.

The primary text used is The Waterbug Book (oddly enough) accompanied by more complex taxonomic keys produced by MDFRC and the classic book by WD Williams “Australian Freshwater Life”.

Previous Waterbug Workshops
In order to get an idea of how students’ knowledge has improved, they sit the ’12 bug challenge’ at the beginning of the course and then again at the end. In this test the participants are given a set of 12 bugs and asked to identify them to the lowest taxonomic level that they can. At the end of the course they are given a different sample of 12 bugs and sit the test again. The results of this test, as well as student feedback from past workshops, can be viewed in the links below.


Inaugural Waterbug Workshop assessment 


Third Waterbug Workshop assessment 


Fourth Waterbug Workshop assessment 


Sixth Waterbug Workshop