Friday, November 11, 2011

Question: Can You Photograph Scuds?

I guess you can, and they really do look like shrimp!

I made a quick trip this afternoon to a small stream near our home with one goal in mind: take pictures of scuds.  This is not much of a stream -- nameless, so far as I know -- but I knew I'd find scuds in there, I've found them before.   This is the kind of stream with which I normally wouldn't bother.  It's narrow, surrounded by briars and thorns; it has more muddy bottom than gravel and rocks -- not much flow and not much drop.  Last year in November, hunters used it for dumping the remains of their deer!

But the leaf packs this time of year always hold scuds -- normally a sign of a pretty poor stream.   But, to my surprise, there were some pretty good insects in here, not just the scuds.  The inventory:
common stoneflies, genus Eccoptura; flatheaded mayflies -- BIG ones -- genus Maccaffertium; Roach-like stoneflies (Peltoperlidae), a lot of them; small winter stoneflies, darker in color than I've seen elsewhere; and, I found a Ptilodactylidae -- a "Toe-winged beetle" -- we don't see those very often.

Chores await, so I'll just post some pictures.

1. Another look at one of the scuds that I picked up today (for more information on scuds and the problems of family ID -- which monitors don't often see -- see the entry posted on 2/9 of this year).

2. The "Toe-winged beetle"

And in this one, note how the gills are exposed at the back end of the larva.  On riffle beetles (larvae), the gills are covered/protected by an operculum.  This is a large insect, about 1" in length.

3. One of the Eccoptura common stoneflies

4. Two Peltoperlids -- one of them freshly molted, thus, pale yellow in color.

5.  One of the flatheaded mayflies (why are they in the leaf packs at this time of year?).

6. And a couple of shots of one of the small winter stoneflies (of which there were many).


Below: a look at the stream where I was working.  Not much to look at.

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