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Project Overview

The goal of Wading for Water Sticks is to understand the distribution and habitat preferences of three North Carolina water stick species using a citizen science approach. There are six total species of water sticks in North Carolina, but we are particularly interested in studying three: Ranatra buenoi, R. drakei, and R. kirkaldyi.  We are interested in answering the following questions about these species:

  • Are water sticks typically found in clear water or murky water?
  • Do water sticks prefer environments with a lot of aquatic vegetation (emergent or submerged)?
  • Do water sticks prefer environments with shade?
  • Do water sticks prefer cold water or warm water?
  • Do water sticks prefer habitats with low or no flow?
  • Are water sticks typically found near shore?
  • Do immature water sticks prefer different habitats than the adults?
  • When are water sticks most abundant as nymphs and adults?
  • What is the distribution of the water sticks in North Carolina?

By making simple observations of a wide variety of habitats over a large geographic area, we can begin to answer some of these questions.  That is where you, our citizen scientists, come in!

Want to get involved in Wading for Water Sticks?  Visit the Protocols page for an overview of what participants like you will be doing.  Then download the complete protocol and the data sheet on the Materials page, find a body of water nearby, and start sampling!

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