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Key to Life in the Pond (Sizes of illustrations are not proportional.

Shells No Shells

Single Shell Double Shell With Backbone (Vertebrates)

Without Backbone (Invertebrates)
spiral, spiral, coiled External gills No gills
large, 2 to 8 inches, small,
opening on left opening on right dark-colored whitish, tan or brown (legs may not be present)
No Legs
Pill or
Fingernail Salamander
Larva Tadpole
Orb Snail Clam
Pouch Snail Gilled Snail Freshwater
Mussel With Tentacles, Brushes or “Tails” Worm-Like

breathing tube large head, transparent on surface, stiff red, green or body with bristles, reddish brown, suckers, expands small, hair-like, glides along tan to brown,
at rear 'wriggles' body with tail disk tan 'twists', no suckers segmented body and contracts, swims in bottom, body not long
distinct head segmented body “S”-shape segmented

Legs Phantom Midge Midge Larva Bristle

Larva Nematode or
Mosquito Mosquito Worm Threadworm Horsehair
Larva Pupa Flatworm or Worm
Soldier Fly Tubifex Leech Planaria
Larva Worm Microscopic

round apostrophe- swims with tentacles

10+ Legs Four Pairs of Legs Three Pairs of Legs shaped a jerk – using

lobster-like pinkish, shrimp-like, walks on

Seed & Clam
tiny, often brightly runs on top
feathery swims on side bottom colored of water Wings Shrimp Hydra
Cyclops or
Copepod Water Flea
Leathery Wings (True Bugs) or
Water Mite Daphnia
Fairy Scud or Fishing Spider
swims right-side swims on back, dark, lives on tan, lives on long, long breathing tube, grasping front legs,
Shrimp Amphipod up, back black back white surface surface stick-like grasping front legs up to three inches
Sowbug or
Crayfish Water
Boatman Backswimmer
Water Treader Giant
Strider Water Bug Beetle-Like, Wings Hard
No Wings
Fewer than Three “Tails” Three “Tails” Scorpion
six legs and large mouth parts, large body, hangs from surface, tiny, hops often lives in plate-like “tails,” long “tails,”
prolegs on “spines” on side hinged mouth large mouth parts on surface tube or case no gills on abdomen gills on swims, moving hind back legs move swims on “crawls” through
abdomen abdomen Water Scorpion
‘Ranatra’ legs alternating at same time surface water, spotted
Developed by the University of Wisconsin–
Extension in cooperation with the Wisconsin
Department of Natural Resources. Based on a Springtail
key developed by Riveredge Nature Center,
Newburg, WI. May be reproduced with this
credit for educational, non-profit purposes. Caterpillar side view Crawling
Dragonfly Mayfly Predaceous
For information, contact UWEX Environmental of “tails”
Water Whirligig Water
Resources Center, 608/262-2634. University
Dobsonfly Larva Predaceous Larva Diving Beetle
of Wisconsin-Extension is an EEO/Affirmative Caddisfly Damselfly Scavenger Beetle Beetle
Action employer and provides equal opportuni- Larva Diving Beetle Larva Beetle
ties in employment and programming, including Larva larva
Title IX and ADA requirements.

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