As you stand on the shore of a lake or wetland and think about what lives in the water, fish, frogs, and turtles often come to mind. But there is another world of life beneath the waves, a world populated by strange-looking animals that many people never see—the world of aquatic insects. Shallow waters, with stands of aquatic plants as well as logs, wood, and rocks scattered about on the bottom, create vital habitat for these insects. Many insects pass their whole lives under the water, while others emerge and become adults we see in the summertime. Here is a close-up introduction to some of Minnesota's more fascinating (and sometimes scary-looking) aquatic insects.

This fascinating world of ferocious predators and agile swimmers lives among and on the aquatic plants, submerged wood, rocks, and other objects in our waters. Leaving shallow waters in more natural condition helps support the health and diversity of this often unseen community. As you watch dragonfly adults darting about, feeding in the summer sunshine, shift your eyes to the water's surface and know that the insect life under the waves is just as amazing.