As is the case with the Columbia River, the Missouri River has been tamed by a series of dams and other structures so that the original river has almost completely disappeared in terms of an ecosystem with a diverse community of river invertebrates.
A very good introduction is provied by Northern State University in South Dakota; includeing pre-glacial drainage.
The following quote is from the above link: "The Missouri River of today, now "tamed," is very different from the river prior to human influence. Today, the river is divided into approximately three equal parts: the lower one-third, below Sioux City, Iowa is channelized ; one-third is impounded by six large dams; and one-third consists of remnant "free flowing" stretches of water. Only one percent of the river's entire length remains truly uncontrolled by humans (emphasis mine}."
A number of other very useful and interesting sources are available in print and on line:
As for the Columbia River, the questions here is about the original river invertebrate communities, and also the present condition of various parts of the river.:
Middle River, The Dakotas
For the first topic, I am interested in the mid region of the river for personal reasons. It is a section of about 700 river miles, from west central North Dakota to southeastern South Dakota. This section is now a series of lakes formed by several dams. The river floods that I remember as a child in central South Dakota no longer occur. The situation is similar to that of the Columbia River. The Oahe Dam in South Dakota near Pierre backs water into North Dakota almost to Bismarck, and another dam north of Bismarck forms a lake that reaches to within a few miles of the Montana border. More dams are found downstream from Pierre to the Nebraska border.
The river insects and invertebrates that originally occurred are now gone from the main Missouri River channel in this mid section. I am not sure if detailed ecological studies were made before dam construction, but I am not aware of samples or data if they do in fact exist.
What was the original invertebrate benthic fauna of the middle, Dakota, sectionof the Missouri River? What eviicence is available?
A partial answer may be that a number of significant tributaries enter the Missouri in this section, especially in western South Dakota.. The Little Missouri is a significant tributary in North Dakota, and in South Dakota, tributaries entering the Missouri are the Grand, Moreau, Cheyenne, Bad, White, James, Vermillion, and Big Sioux Rivers, plus the Keya Paha, entering in Nebrasks.
Recent scientific reports indicate that these tributaries have supported or now support a number of characteristic river species of mayflies . Again, these species apparently are gone from the main channel at the present time, but presumably historically occupied the main Missouri channel.
Mayflies from Missouri tributaries in South Dakota (Guenther and McCafferty 2008, Mayflies of South Dakota):
1. Camelobaetidius warreni (Traver and Edmunds): Cheyenne River, Little Missouri River, also found in the Saskatchewan River.
2. Pseudocloeon dardanum (McDunnough) Vermillion River, Cheyenne River, also found in the Saskatchewan River.
3. Caenis latipennis Banks Little Missouri River, also in the Sask. Riv.
4. Baetisca lacustris, Yankton, Missouri River, Vermillion River, also Sask. Riv.
5. Cercobrachys cree, Cheyenne Riv., also Sask. . Riv.
6. Hexagenia bilineata, H. limbata, both at Yankton, Missouri River, the latter also Sask. Riv.
7. Heptagenia elegantula, as H. diabasica, Missouri Riv., Vermillion Riv., also Sask. Riv.
8. Heptagenia flavescens (Walsh), Vermillion, Missouri Riv., also Sask. Riv.
9. Maccaffertium terminatum (Walsh), Vermillion, Grand Rivers,. also Sask. Riv.
10. Isonychia bicolor (Walker), I. rufa, Grand River, Little Missouri, at Sioux Falls; A similar species, Isonychia campestris , is found in the Sask, Riv.
11. Leptophlebia nebulosa, Cheyenne River, also Sask. Riv.
12. Ephoron album (Say), Grand River, Moreau Rivers, also Sask. Riv.
13. Traverella albertana, Grand River, Standing Rock Res., also Sask Riv.
14. Pseudiron centralis, Tripp Co., Keya Paha Riv., also Sask. Riv.
Although the above 14 species are shared by the Saskatchean River and Missouri River tributaries, especially in South Dakota, a general statement about the group of 14 is that they are mostly common and widespread. Rare or uncommon species such as Raptohetagenia cruentata, Macdunnoa nipawinia, and Ametropus sp. are not present.
A further observation is that a several unusual species and Families are found in South Dakota but not in the Saskatchewan River system:
In general these records are from the upper, undamed areas of the Missouri, or from the Yellowstone drainage, which flows into the Missouri at the North Dakota border. Thus, the species below were almost certainly historically found in the Middle, now flooded, sections of the Missouri in the Dakotas. Notice that many rare and unusual mayflies below, e.g. Raptoheptagenia, Macdunnoa, Lachlania, are not found in the Dakota tributaries, but are shared with Saskatchewan.
(Most records from Montana Field Guide, link below)
Genera in common with the Saskatchewan River are in Bold in the table below. Genera not found in the lower Missouri but present in Saskatchewan include Lachlania, Analetris, Traverella, Choroterpes, Ametropus, and others.
Appendix A Missouri River Aquatic Species
TABLE 1 Listing of the Most Numerous Aquatic Insects Collected from the Missouri River in Nebraska Using Hester-Dendy Artificial Substrate Samplers, Dredges, and Plankton Nets from 1983 Through 1986, and Their Preferred Habitat
Family Leptophlebiidae Leptophlebia Collector-gatherer Backup, marsh, pool Paraleptophlebia Shredder-detritivore Channel, chute, backup Family Siphlonuridae Isonychia Collector Channel, channel border Family Baetidae Baetis Collector-gatherer-scraper Channel, chute, sandbar Pseudocleon Scrapers Channel, chute, sandbar CentroptilumCollector-gatherer-scraper Pool, backup, sandbar Heterocloeon Scraper Channel, channel border Callibaetis Collector-gatherer Backup, marsh, puddle DactylobaetisScraper Backup, marsh, sand synonym Camelobaetidius Family Baetiscidae BaetiscaCollector-gatherer-scraper Chute, border, sandbar Family Emhemerellidae EphemerellaCollector-gatherer-scraper Chute, backup, marsh
Trichoptera Caddisflies Family Hydropsychidae Hydropsyche Collector-filterer Chute, channel borders Potamyia Collector-filterer Chute, channel borders Cheumatopsyche Collector-filterer Chute, channel borders Family Polycentropodidae Neuroclipsis Shredder-herbivore Chute, backup, marsh Nyctiophylax Predator-collector-filterer off channel habitat Cyrnellus Collector-filterer off channel habitat Family Hydroptilidae Mayatrichia Scraper Hydroptila Piercer-herbivore Backwater borders Agraylea Piercer-herbivore Backwater borders Family Leptoceridae Ceraclea Collector-gatherer All aquatic habitat Nectopsyche Shredder-herbivore Chute, backup, borders Triaenodes Shredder-herbivore Backup, marsh, puddle Family Limnephilidae Pycnopsyche Shredder-detritivore Chute, backup, puddle Family Philiopotamidae Wormaldia Collector-filterer Channel, chute Family Brachycentridae Brachycentrus Collector-filterer Channel, chute
Diptera Family Chironomidae Collector-gatherer-filter All aquatic habitats Family Tipulidae Shredder-detritivore All aquatic habitats Family Tephritidae Family Tabanidae Predator Backup, marsh, puddle Family Chaobordiae Predator-engulfer Backup, marsh, puddle Family Culicidae Collector-filterer-gatherer Backup, marsh, puddle
Family Simuliidae Collector-filterer Chute, channel Family Mycetophilidae Family Ceratopogonidae Predator-gatherer Backup, marsh, puddle Family Muscidae Predator All aquatic habitats Family Tachinidae Family Stratiomiyidae Collector-gatherer Backup, marsh, puddle Family Agromyzidae Family Cecidomyidae Family Empididae Predator off channel habitat Family Sciaridae Family Dolichopodidae Family Psychodidae Collector-gatherer Backup, marsh, puddle Family Ephydridae Collector-gatherer Backup, marsh, puddle Family Phoridae Predator
Plecoptera Family Perlidae Acroneuria Predator Channel, chute, borders Family Perlodidae Isoperla Predator Channel, chute, borders Perlinella Perlesta Family Taeniopterygidae Shredder-detritivore Channel, chute, borders
Odonata Family Coenagrionidae Argia Predator off channel habitat Ischnura Predator Chute, backup, marsh Coenagrion Predator off channel habitat Agrion Predator off channel habitat Enallagma Predator Backup, marsh, puddle Family Gomphidae Gomphus Predator Backup, marsh, puddle Family Libellulidae Predator Oxbow, puddle Family Lestidae Lestes Predator Backup, marsh, puddle Family Aeshinidae Predator Backup, marsh, puddle Family Calopterygidae Agrion Predator Chute
Coleoptera Family Halipidae Shredder-herbivore Backup, marsh, puddle Family Dytiscidae Predator Backup, marsh, puddle Family Gyrinidae Predator off channel habitat Family Dryopidae Scraper-collector-gatherer Chute, channel, sandbar Family Curculionidae Shredder-herbivore Backup, marsh, puddle Family Helodidae Shredder-herbivore Oxbow, puddle, marsh Family Hydrophilidae Predator All aquatic habitats
Family Staphylinidae Predator Sandbar, dune Family Elmidae Collector-gatherer-scraper Chute, channel, sandbar Family Heteroceridae Predator Sandbar, dune Family Carabidae Predator Family Chrysomelidae Shredder-herbivore Backup, marsh, puddle Family Coccinellidae
Hemiptera Family Corixidae Piercer All aquatic habitats Family Lygaeidae Family Nabidae Family Aradidae Family Tingitidae Family Mesoveliidae Predator Backup, marsh, oxbow Family Cicadellidae Family Coreidae Family Naucoridae Predator Backup, marsh, oxbow Family Pleidae Predator Oxbow, puddle, marsh Family Notonectidae Predator Backup, marsh, oxbow Family Saldidae Predator Backup, marsh, oxbow Family Gerridae Predator All aquatic habitats Family Hebridae Predator Backup, marsh, oxbow
Lepidoptera Family Pyralidae Scraper-shredder-herbivore
A big difference between the Missouri and Saskatchewaan- Molluscs
TABLE 2 Unionid mollusks collected recently from four river basins in eastern Nebraska draining into the Missouri River, and the Missouri River Elkhorn River Platte River Big and Little Nemaha Rivers Missouri River Anodonta imbecillis Anodonta imbecillis Anodonta imbecillis Anodonta g. grandis Anodonta g. grandis Anodonta g. grandis Anodonta g. grandis Anodonta g. corpulenta Anodonta suborbiculata Anodontoides ferussacianus Anodontoides ferussacianus Anodontoides ferussacianus Strophitus u. undulatus Strophitus u. undulatus Strophitus u. undulatus Arcidens confragosus Arcidens confragosus Lasmigona complanata Lasmigona complanata Lasmigona complanata Lasmigona complanata Lasmigona compressa Lasmigona compressa Tritogonia verrucosa Tritogonia verrucosa Tritogonia verrucosa Quadrula quadrula Quadrula quadrula Quadrula quadrula Quadrula quadrula Quadrula p. pustulosa Quadrula p. pustulosa Amblema p. plicata Amblema p. plicata Fusconaia flava Fusconaia flava Fusconaia flava Uniomerus tetralasmus Uniomerus tetralasmus Uniomerus tetralasmus Actinonaias ligamentina carinata Actinonaias ligamentina carinata
Elkhorn River Platte River Big and Little Nemaha Rivers Missouri River Obovaria olivaria Obovaria olivaria Truncilla truncata Truncilla truncata Truncilla truncata Truncilla donaciformis Truncilla donaciformis Leptodea fragilis Leptodea fragilis Leptodea fragilis Leptodea fragilis Leptodea leptodon Potamilus alatus Potamilus alatus Potamilus alatus Potamilus purpuratus Potamilus ohiensis Potamilus ohiensis Potamilus ohiensis Potamilus ohiensis Toxolasma parvus Toxolasma parvus Toxolasma parvus Ligumia recta Ligumia recta Ligumia subrostrata Ligumia subrostrata Ligumia subrostrata Lampsilis teres f. teres Lampsilis teres f. teres Lampsilis teres f. teres Lampsilis teres f. teres Lampsilis teres f. anodontoides Lampsilis teres f. anodontoides Lampsilis radiata luteola Lampsilis radiata luteola Lampsilis radiata luteola Lampsilis ventricosa Lampsilis ventricosa Lampsilis ventricosa Corbicula fluminea Elliptio dilatata