Invertebrates are animals without a spinal column (backbone). They include:
- marine species such as sponges, jellyfish, sea urchins and starfish;
- freshwater aquatic species such as snails and mussels;
- terrestrial species like insects, spiders and worms.
On these pages you will find information about a variety of NYSDEC research and management programs concerning invertebrate species.
Endangered and Threatened Invertebrates
The Endangered Species Unit of NYSDEC is responsible for perpetuating and restoring native animal life within the State. Several invertebrate species are listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern in New York. Fact sheets have been prepared for several of these listed species. They include a description of the species, its life history, statewide distribution and habitat, its current status, and management and research needs.
Macroinvertebrates are larger-than-microscopic invertebrate animals. Because of their abundance and their sensitivity to environmental impacts, they are widely used in biomonitoring programs for assessing water quality. The Stream Biomonitoring Unit of NYSDEC has used aquatic macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects, worms, clams, snails and crustaceans) to monitor the water quality of the State's rivers and streams.