Roles of Water Bugs in the Ecosystem
Nature gives all living creatures a role to play in maintaining the ecosystem. The role of water bugs in the ecosystem is just as vital as any other creature.
Numerous research has purposes on the forest ecosystem, and how vertebrates and invertebrates there maintain the ecology. However, there is little knowledge about the aquatic ecosystem and the role of vertebrates and invertebrates in the freshwater food webs.
This article will shed some light on the role of water bugs in the ecosystem, and the role they play in the aquatic food webs.
Role of Water Bugs as a Predator
Water bugs inhabit slow-moving freshwater, and aquatic invertebrates dominate freshwater food webs; water bugs being one among them. There is no general classification of water bugs that label them as carnivore or herbivore because research has sometimes shown they feed on small microscopic organisms and sometimes on algae. Water bugs are not scavengers, and always take in fresh meat. Therefore, they’re always on the hunt for prey.
They feed on both vertebrates and invertebrates. Being formidable predators, they sometimes take hold of plants near the water surface, wait there, and grasp passing prey. They feed on a large variety of creatures including tadpoles, salamanders, amphibians, small fish, snails, crustaceans and aquatic insects.
Giant water bugs can catch and eat animals 50 times bigger than their size.
They are deemed top invertebrate predators in the aquatic ecosystem, and the role of water bugs hold a critical place in maintaining the ecological balance.
Their presence is even more vital in wetlands where they control insect populations where there are no fish to prey upon insects. Giant water bugs are at the top of their aquatic food chain and prevent population explosions of smaller invertebrates by feeding upon them.
Role of Water Bugs as Prey
Life is based on the simple rule of “give and take” which means the life of one organism is dependent in one way or another on the life of another organism. On one side water bugs play the part of predator in the aquatic food chain while at the same time they serve as suitable prey for several amphibians and some fish.
Role of Water Bugs as Nutrient Processors
Water bugs are essential for nutrient processing and recycling in the ecosystem. They absorb and release energy from the environment, and capture nutrients to return them to the terrestrial ecosystem. Their great importance is due to their water purification ability.
As water bugs they feed on algae, microorganisms, larvae, and other insects they cleanse freshwater of all impurities.
Besides performing their designated role of predator and prey, they also shed light on the ecosystem’s health and quality of water. These aquatic bugs have the capacity to tolerate temperature, pollution, mud or slit in water to a certain level.
When the level exceeds, they die except few high tolerant bugs. Sampling aquatic bugs provide an accurate assessment of the increase in pollution, change in environmental conditions, and altered quality of water.
Recently a new field of biological studies has made itself known. Known as biomonitoring, the purpose is to study the pollution and chemical level of the water. It has been a struggle to find an efficient way to detect the pollution level of water.
Scientists are predicting some amazing discoveries by using water bugs as indicators of water quality.
It is expected that if the experimentation becomes successful, it will help us to detect water pollution, and purify it in a more effective and cost-efficient manner.
Related Articles About Water Bugs:
- Do Water Bugs Bite or Cause Disease?
- Facts About Water Bugs
- The Life Cycle of Water Bugs
- What Attracts Water Bugs and How to Prevent Them
- How to Get Rid of Water Bugs in the Swimming Pool
- Roles of Water Bugs in the Ecosystem
- Types of Water Bugs
- Giant Water Bug: The Beast of Pests
- How to Get Rid Of Water Bugs