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Field Guide to Wisconsin Streams

Wisconsin is defined by water, bounded by Lakes Michigan and Superior and the Mississippi River. Even the name Wisconsin is thought to have originated from the Ojibwe name for river.


If all of Wisconsin's streams and rivers were placed end to end, they would measure 42,000 miles long, enough to encircle the planet one and a half times.

American Lotus

American Lotus
Common in W. Wisconsin on Mississippi River backwaters; it is rare on inland waters. It is also found in ponds and lakes, preferring quiet water.

Field Guide to Wisconsin Streams


Plants, Fishes, Invertebrates, Amphibians, and Reptiles
by Michael A. Miller, et al
University of Wisconsin Press, 2014

This is a field guide to the myriad life forms present in the riparian areas of the state of Wisconsin. It includes photos, descriptions and taxonomic details on plants, invertebrates, fishes, crayfishes, mussels and clams, amphibians and reptiles. Mammals are not included and specific locations are not mapped or discussed.

Organization of the guide is based largely on taxonomy, from kingdom, phylum and class to order, family, genus and finally, species.

"Most plants and animals in the book are described at the species level, but some are described at the family level or at higher taxonomic levels," lead author Michael A. Miller explains.

Northern Leopard Frog



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Broad Winged Damselfly
Broad Winged Damselfly

Common statewide. Larvae are found in streams, especially woodlands, and inhabit slow-moving water on bank vegetation, snags, or undercut banks. They are moderately toilerant of organic pollution and are predators.


Sea Lamprey
Sea Lamprey

Uncommon. Adults inhabit the open waters of the Great Lakes. Postlaval sea lampreys feed on the blood of commerically important species such as lake trout, salmons, lake whitefish, and other fish species for nearly a year before reaching sexul maturity. Adult lampreys then migrate from the Great Lakes into tributary streams to spawn.