Lab 5. Collecting & Preserving Part 3 – Aquatic Field Trip

In this lab you will observe and collect insects found in aquatic habitats.  


The main objectives of this lab are to help you:

  1.   learn where to look for aquatic insects and collect them safely
  2.   distinguish the eight common orders of aquatic insects based on physical appearance


1. Review

Before lab, review: “Lab 5 Details” on the course Moodle site; the video above; and appropriate parts of the Insect Collection Instructions.

2. Bring Materials for Lab

See the list at the bottom of this page (IMPORTANT: if you do not bring these materials, you will not be be able to complete this lab)

3. Prepare Collecting Materials:

Bring at least 6 vials of alcohol, a couple of vials of Kahle’s solution, and sufficient temporary labels (i.e. 1 for each vial, and 1 for your killing jar). Remember to “recharge” your killing jar with ethyl acetate from your squeeze bottle to collect other specimens from the varied habitats we will be walking through.

4. Travel to Pond and Stream for Insect Collecting

We will travel to two sites with different aquatic habitats (and insects) to collect aquatic insect specimens from at least 5 different orders or families.  To help you recognize the various aquatic insect taxa, use this quick guide,



5. Lab Exercise:  Preserve and Label Aquatic Specimens

Preserve aquatic insect specimens correctly (see “Preserving Insects in Alcohol“).  All specimens must have temporary labels written in pencil only.


You will need the following materials for this lab:

  • Boots or some other footwear that can get wet
  • Collecting gear
  • Preserving gear
  • 70% ethyl alcohol and “Kahle’s Solution” (both provided in lab)
  • Smartphone or computer, to access class website.