Substrate Preference in Stream-Inhabiting Damselfly Larvae

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Damselflies are important for managing harmful insects, and they are being threatened by habitat degradation. As habitats are degraded through human activity, it is important that we have an understanding of substrate preference in emerging insects in order to preserve their habitat. This study investigates substrate preference in Coenagrionidae damselflies and Calopteryx maculata using a field and lab experiment. It was hypothesized that damselflies would prefer moss as a substrate to perch on. Although there was no significant substrate preference by the C. maculata larvae, they did prefer the moss, sediments, and leaves over the empty petri dishes. There was no clear substrate preference shown by the Coenagrionidae. Although these results do not point to a specific substrate as a preference by the larvae, there is room for improvement of experimental design and further research to be done.