Classification Key

of common invertebrates of Australian freshwater bodies.
“Sponges” “Hydras” and “Jellyfish”

Phylum: Porifera Family: Spongillidae
Mat-like structure, spongy to touch, dull coloured. Very small or several metres long, depending on species, age and environment. “Freshwater Mussels”

Phylum: Cnidaria Order: Hydrozoa Kingdom: Animalia
May be free-floating or sessile, sexual or asexual, solitary or colonial, exhibit a range of body forms.

“Primitive Worms”

Class: Bivalvia
Shell consists of 2 separate valves hinged together. 3 families. “Freshwater Snails”

Phylum: Mollusca
Single large foot, hard calcareous resistant shell into which the animal may retreat.

“Proboscis Worms”

Phylum: Annelida
Elongate, segmented, lacking appendages, body wall soft and covered by thing cuticle.

Phylum: Nemertea
“Horsehair Worms”

Class: Gastropoda
A coiled or limpet-like shell from which a large foot protrudes. Creeps along substrate on surface of foot. 12 families. “Water Mites”

Phylum: Nematomorpha
“Round Worms”

Phylum: Nematoda Class: Polychaeta
“Segmented Worms”

Phylum: Platyhelminthes
Bilateral symmetry, absence of distinct respiratory, circulatory and skeletal systems.

Phylum: Arthropoda
Possess an exoskeleton containing chitin, a segmented body and jointed appendages.

Class: Arachnida
Possess 4 pairs of legs, 2 feeding appendages, no antennae.

Class: Oligochaeta

Class: Hirudinea Order: Acariformes

Class: Temnocephalidea


Class: Crustacea
2 pairs of antennae, mandibles and 2 pairs of maxillae on the head, a pair of appendages on each body segment. “Fairy Shrimps”

No sign of external segmentation. Parasitic as larvae, free-living as nymphs and adults. “Insects”

Order: Ephemeroptera
“Damsefliesl & Dragonflies”

Class: Turbellaria

Order: Odonata
Labium extensible, often covering face. “Beetles”

Suborder: Zygoptera
Larvae usually slender with 3 large terminal gills. 11 Australian families, 107 species. “Dragonflies”

Class: Insecta
Usually possess defined head, thorax, abdomen, 1 or 2 pairs of wings, 3 pairs of jointed legs and a 1 pair of antennae. Larvae often have different habitat and structure to adults. “Springtails”

Order: Anostraca
“Shield/Tadpole Shrimps”

Order: Coleoptera

Suborder: Anisoptera
Larvae stout, without terminal gills but with anal pyramid. 6 Australian species, 198 species. “Backswimmers”

Order: Notostraca
“Seed Shrimps”

Order: Trichoptera
“Aquatic Bugs”

Subclass: Ostracoda Subclass: Copepoda

Class: Collembola
Wingless, possess abdomen with 6 segments. Up to 3mm in size. Habitats the surface film of still waters.

Order: Hemiptera
Mouth-parts consist of hinged stylets, mandibles and maxillae, resting in an anterior, grooved rostrumlike labium, generally 2 pairs of wings. 15 families and 222 species have aquatic stages. “Moths”

Family: Notonectidae
Large eyes, elongate body, swim with back downwards. 6 genera. “Water Boatmen”

Family: Corixidae
Fore-tarsi usually scoop-like with row of long hairs, head slightly overlapping the pronotum. 5 genera, 31 species recorded. “Mosquitoes”

Order: Cyclopoida
Information taken directly from: Hawking, John H. & Smith, Felicity J. Colour Guide to Invertebrates of Australian Inland Waters Co-operative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology, NSW 1997. * This classification key only includes a selection of the known class, order, and family levels for each phylum.

Order: Lepidoptera
“Two-winged Flies”

Order: Diptera
Larvae do not have true legs.

Family: Culicidae
Prolegs absent, thoracic segments fused, mouth brushes present.

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