The Aquatic Invertebrates of Texas
A catalogue compiled by
Stephen W. Ziser
Austin Community College, Department of Biology
E-mail                          Homepage                                                                                                                               Initial Posting: October, 2008; Latest Update:  October, 2010

This website is a continuing compilation of all records; published & unpublished, verified & unverified, of the aquatic invertebrates reported for Texas' inland waters.  This is NOT a definitive list.  Such definitive, rigorously vetted, species lists exist only for a relatively few groups of Texas' aquatic fauna (links to some of these lists can be found here as well).  This website DOES offer the only grand overview of the aquatic invertebrate diversity of our state, including historical synonymys, distribution lists and all bibliographic references used to compile these data.  While considerable work yet needs to be done, I hope this posting will stimulate further interest in Texas' aquatic invertebrate fauna and lead to even more fruitful investigations into species distributions within our freshwater ecosystems.

The Aquatic Invertebrates of the World

Working List of Texas species

Complete List (including  synonyms & species reported in error)

Working Bibliography

Citation for this site:  Ziser, S. W. 2008-2012. The Aquatic Invertebrates of Texas.

Texas Freshwater Invertebrate Fauna

Texas covers 266,807 square miles and includes mountains,  deserts,  swamps, marshes, prairies and forests.  Annual rainfall varies from 8” to 60” across state (Graham 1992). Our state contains the greatest volume of inland waters than any state except Alaska (Grahan 1992). Texas encompasses over 3 million acres of reservoirs and lakes (including 211 major (>5000acre-feet) reservoirs.  Within Texas are 191,228 miles of streams and rivers; 21% of which are perennial. Texas is one of 4 states (of the lower 48) with the greatest wetland acreage including 6.5 million acres of inland wetlands and 1.7 million acres of coastal wetlands. Additonally, Texas contains 2394 square  miles of bays and estuaries in which freshwater fauna are occasionally found. (Texas Environmental Profiles, 2008).

Texas harbors at least 3044 individual species of aquatic & semiaquatic invertebrate animals.  This represents 19% of the known Nearctic aquatic invertebrate fauna and 3% of the world fauna,  yet our state encompasses only 3% of the Nearctic land area;  102 species are endemic to the state of Texas and 171 are listed as “species of concern,  endangered,  imperiled, rare or recently extinct”.  Twenty-five species are exotics that have been introduced into the state. 

The current posting is only a draft; there are still numerous references that need to be accessed and many synonyms  yet to be discovered. I am happy to entertain any suggestions for corrections, clarifications or improvements. I also welcome any new citations and I would greatly appreciate reprints or copies of relevant articles, particularly those in hard to access journals. Please address all correspondence to the email link above. Thanks for your interest.

The Aquatic Invertebrates of Texas

(Distribution Records and References)

Porifera [sponges]

Cnidaria [hydras & jellyfish]

Turbellaria [flatworms & planarians]


Bryozoa (Ectoprocta)


Nematomorpha [horsehair worms]


Tardigrada [water bears]

Nematoda (free-living) [roundworms]



Polychaeta [bristleworms & sandworms]


Oligochaeta [aquatic earthworms]

Hirudinea [leeches]


Gastropoda [snails & limpets]

Bivalvia [mussels & clams]


Cladocera [water fleas]


 Ostracoda [seed shrimp]

Amphipoda [scuds, sandfleas]

Isopoda [isopods]

Decapoda [crayfish, shrimp, crabs]


Anostraca [fairy shrimp]

Arguloida [fish lice]

"Conchostraca" [Clam Shrimp]

Mysida [opossum shrimp]

Notostraca [tadpole shrimp]


Acari [water mites]


Plecoptera [stoneflies]

Ephemeroptera [mayflies]

Odonata [damselflies & dragonflies]

Collembola [springtails]

Megaloptera [dobsonflies, fishflies, hellgrammites]

Neuroptera [spongilla flies]

Lepidoptera [aquatic moths]


Hymenoptera [wasps]


Coleoptera [beetles]

Trichoptera [caddisflies]

Diptera [mosquitoes & flies]