Monday, February 7, 2011

Stream Report: Buck Mt. Creek

(A large winter stonefly -- genus Strophopteryx -- crawls over a rock.  There were about 30 large winter nymphs on this rock when I lifted it out of the water.)

At the moment, Buck Mt. Creek is "chock-a-block" full of Strophopteryx large winter stoneflies.  It's also got a lot of black flies all of a sudden: you can look down at the rocks in the stream and see the black patches.  They showed up real well on this white rock -- so I pulled it out of the stream for a close shot.

I saw no Taeniopteryx large winter stoneflies: I think they've all hatched (at least in this stream).  And I only saw 1-2 small winter stoneflies -- and that was with 1-2 hours of looking intently.  They too are pretty well gone for the season.

I did continue to find Clioperla Perlodid stoneflies -- and by now they're really big.  The one in the picture below was about 1 inch long, not counting the tails.   (Note that he's joined in this group photo by a Uenoid caddis, a Saddle case-maker caddis and a midge!)

While the large winters I found were crawling around on the bottoms and tops of the rocks, this Perlodid -- and about 4 others of  similar size -- was rooting around in a leaf pack.  No surprise there.
Perlodid stoneflies, Common stoneflies (Perlids), and Green stoneflies (Chloroperlids) are all "predators"
in their eating habits, all other stoneflies are herbivores/detritivores.   So the Perlodids were looking for lunch -- in the form of large and small winter stones, crane fly larvae, midge larvae, and black fly larvae.   I found a large number of black flies today in the leaves -- a fact that delighted, I'm sure, the Perlodids!

One more group shot.  Here a large winter stonefly sits in the tray while a midge floats by doing the backstroke!

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