Ann and Kim Counting Bugs

Early last June
when beautiful Doe Creek
was full of water,
on the day we spent
thigh-high in muck
seining the waters
to record the numbers
and diversity
of fish,
we also scrubbed
the vegetation along the shoreline
and took a sampling
of macroinverebrates.
They’ve been stored in a jar of alcohol
at the Oklahoma Conservation Commission offices
until Blue Thumb‘s Kim Shaw
brought them to the farm last week
so we could count them.
We carefully washed out the bigger pieces of debris,
making sure we didn’t take discard any bugs,
and then Kim measured out a sampling
and set a grid on top
and a lighted magnifying glass above.
With tweezers, we carefully sorted
through the remaining debris
and removed the tiny bugs
in randomly-selected sections of the grid
until we had found a little over a hundred.
We looked for anything with a head.
Very hard to see the heads of macroinvertebrates.
We’re talking about worms thinner than an eyelash.
We’re talking about bugs that look like vegetation.
It took us four hours to come up with the required
100-bug sampling.
About three-and-a-half hours into the project,
we actually began to see the heads of bugs.
It took that long to condition ourselves
to see what we were looking for.
Great news:
We found a variety of nymph bugs.
Riffle Beetle,
Lung Snail
Gill Snail
Midge Fly
Water Worms
Some of those bugs can live
in low levels of oxygen saturation,
a condition that’s not so healthy.
But some of those bugs —
like Mayflies and Gilled Snails —
can only live in levels of high oxygen saturation.
And there was good diversity in that sample.
So, last June,
when the creek had water in it,
the habitat there was pretty healthy.
(The fish sampling was good too.
See our blog posting of June 3.)

Of course,
there is no water
in Doe Creek now.
The nursery
is dry.