Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Kick and Pick

Extracted some aquatic bugs today, from three different local, warmwater streams.

Giant Stoneflies (plecopterans): I told my boys these guys were dinosaurs of sorts. They sure look the part.

The name Plecoptera, derived from the Greek "pleco" meaning folded and "ptera" meaning wing, refers to the pleated hind wings which fold under the front wings when the insect is at rest. Stoneflies are generally regarded as the earliest group of Neoptera. They probably represent an evolutionary "dead end" that diverged well over 300 million years ago. Immature stoneflies are aquatic nymphs (naiads). They usually live beneath stones in fast-moving, well-aerated water. Oxygen diffuses through the exoskeleton or into tracheal gills located on the thorax, behind the head, or around the anus. Most species feed on algae and other submerged vegetation, but two families (Perlidae and Chloroperlidae) are predators of mayfly nymphs (Ephemeroptera) and other small aquatic insects. Adult stoneflies are generally found on the banks of streams and rivers from which they have emerged. They are not active fliers and usually remain near the ground where they feed on algae or lichens. In many species, the adults are short-lived and do not have functional mouthparts. Stoneflies are most abundant in cool, temperate climates. Citation: http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/course/ent425/compendium/stonef~1.html

Also caddis of various types and sizes... Check out the two with case - one is remarkably large.

Horse hair worm; one little riffle beetle, some aquatic sow bugs (a couple really big ones), some snails, a damselfly nymph, some golden stoneflies, scuds, and a few stray mayflies of varying size, color and body type. The mayflies were notably sparse in these streams, on this day. The giant stoneflies were two of a group of three all clinging to one rock under US HWY 14. I startled a bit when I turned over that rock... The damselfly has an evilness about it for some reason - must be the way it stands - looking poised to move at and attack something... or maybe the face. Not sure. They look peaceful enough as adults. Scuds are spending a lot of time spooning.

We watched these bugs for quite a while. I got a little aggressive with the camera, because (1) they are utterly fascinating, and (2) good fishing and tying reference. Had to use a flash.

These guys will go back to the water tomorrow.



















29 Comments:

Anonymous winonaflyfactory said...

WOW! Freakin sweet man. I need to hunt down some of those HUGE Stones. I mean huge, look at pics #8 and 11. 11 really gets me, the mayfly nymph is a Macaffertium Nymph and is one of the largest Mayfly nymphs we have in S.E. Minnesota. Love seeing the boys checking out the dinosaur bugs. Take care man, hope to hang soon.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

I happened over here to pm you about the natural rainbow I caught last year and I got sucked in to this post. Wicked pics. My boy would love something like that in a glass bowl.

Feel free to email me about the rainbows. tom underscore wurdock at yahoo.

11:48 PM  
Blogger Trout Caviar said...

Very cool, Wendy! I did not know we had stoneflies that big around here. Have you seen the adult form of those?

Brett

8:24 AM  
Anonymous graygoat said...

I know why we throw big T-bone steaks at those trout now. Those bugs look like they would provide a meal for a grown boy. Excellent photography, and you can see that the interest is there. Someone should create a show for kids with talking stoneflies.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

Glad you guys've got some love for these bugs. Fascinating.

The stones are really, really big. The only places I've seen that particular specie: warmwater streams. Even rivers like the Cannon. Usually in the coldwater you see the golden stones ("yellow sally"?). I've never seen the adult of that size. Would be quite a sight.

THere's a still a lot of observation that could be done with respect to these bugs - recently had a discussion on a local board regarding craneflies too. Stones. Craneflies. Mayflies. Wow. A big part of what makes fly fishing so interesting.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

Scary bugs. I would hate to stumble across those at night. But speaking of stumbling, I recently found your website and I thought you might be interested in posting this video. It's about a fish virus called VHS and its slowly making it way into Minnesota's lakes. We are trying to get the word out to fishermen to help stop it. Take a peak.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1cLZTITKWI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=175sX7obfpg

3:29 PM  
Blogger darklake said...

Great pics. Makes me glad I'm not a trout and need to rely on eating stuff like that to stay alive!

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