Insects, Spiders, Centipedes, Millipedes

Aquatic macroinvertebrates (those that can be seen with the unaided eye) are the most abundant organisms within a stream, and they are an integral part of the river system’s food chain. The Buffalo National River has over 128 species of macroinvertebrates; most are from the orders of Mayflies, Caddisflies, Stoneflies, and True flies or Midges.

Diversity and species richness should be high within the Buffalo River, but research indicates that the diversity and richness of these communities are declining in certain reaches of the river. Changes in land use, declines in the quality of water from tributaries, introduced non-native species, and degradation of physical habitat are some of the factors causing this decline. Current efforts by the Park to protect these resources, include the development of an inventory and monitoring project that examines the macroinvertebrate communities over the long-term in conjunction with water-quality collections.

Numerous species exist throughout these forests. One species of interest is the Red Oak Borer Beetle.
Red Oak Borer Beetle may infest large tracks of Red Oaks that are located on top of the dry ridgetops. These beetles are native to the Ozarks, but numerous environmental factors still under study have combined to produce large and troublesome densities of these beetles. Prescribed fire is one of the strategies being used to reduce certain life cycle habitat niches of the beetle. Numerous research projects are looking into the infestation problem, and hopefully clear management strategies will emerge to deal with this environmental dilemma.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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