Two independent surveys showed that aquatic insects can generate echoes comparable with the echoes of small fish. In the open water of two fishless mountain acidic waters of the Czech Republic, a very distinct population of well-defined single targets resembling fish (target strength –66 to –50 dB at 120 kHz) was discovered. These targets were found in the depth range of 5–7 m during the day (June–July 1997). At night, most targets were recorded by horizontal beaming (depth < 3 m). Towing of ichthyoplankton nets in these horizons revealed the presence of ‘water bugs’, Corixidae (Hemiptera), mostly genus Glaenocorisa. Target strengths of corixids was also verified by direct observations in an experimental tank, where it was possible to track side, dorsal and ventral aspects. In three Dutch reservoirs, Petrusplaat, Honderd-en-Dertig and De Gijster (area 100–300 ha, maximum depth 15–28 m, with fish presence) the targets of ascending dipteran pupae (Chironomidae, Procladius signatus) with target strength of –74 to –65 dB were observed by vertical beaming. The presence of pupae was verified by horizontally towed ichthyoplankton nets and by vertical plankton hauls inside the echosounder beam. The contribution of aquatic insects to the fish biomass was small but they can interfere in juvenile fish assessment.
Keywords: Chironomidae; Corixidae; echosounding; sonar; target strength