Friday, December 30, 2011

Stream Report: The Doyles and the Moormans

My destination this morning was the Moormans River in Sugar Hollow -- the main stem -- where there are some very nice riffles above the first bridge as you go up the valley.  I had high hopes of finding lots of good things, but I ended up disappointed.  I saw quite a few small winter stoneflies, a good number of common stoneflies (genus Acroneuria), crane fly larvae, black fly larvae, one lonely Peltoperlid (Roach-like stonefly), one fingernet caddis, and two young Diploperla Perlodids.  That was it.  No large winter stoneflies --that surprised me -- and no variety in the Perlodids.  Still, I got a few nice photos which I'm happy to share.

1. The Roach-like stonefly (something I wasn't expecting)

2. One of the small winter stoneflies

3. The fingernet caddis (genus Chimarra) -- a real beauty.  In the last photo, the arrow points to the notch in the "frontoclypeal apotome" (the upper lip, as it were) that is characteristic of this particular genus.

4. The Diploperla Perodids, one of them recently molted and almost entirely clear!

5. And finally, one of the black fly larvae (genus Prosimulium), very unique in terms of the color.  (I've been starting to see black flies now in our streams, and there were quite a few on the leaves in the Moormans this morning.)

Disappointed with what I found at the Moormans, where I worked pretty hard to find what I did, I decided to head to the Doyles.   Here I fared much better.  The leaf packs were loaded with insects, and the variety was what I expected to see.  I again found some small winter stoneflies and a few black fly larvae, but I was pleased to also see large winter stoneflies (both Taeniopteryx and Strophopteryx), Diploperla Perlodids, Helopicus Perlodids, and -- as in the beautiful photo at the top of the page -- Clioperla Perlodids.   I hope to do more work in the Moormans this year, so I hope I fare better in other locations.

Photos from the Doyles.

1. Another look at the Clioperla clio Perlodid stonefly -- this one's close to being fully mature.

2. One of the Taeniopteryx large winter stoneflies (Taeniopteryx burksi)

3. One of the Strophopteryx large winter stoneflies (Strophopteryx fasciata)

4. And a couple of shots of one of several Helopicus Perlodid stoneflies I found in this stream (Helopicus subvarians)

This is not a Perlodid stonefly that inhabits a lot of our streams.  To date I've only seen it in the Doyles and in Buck Mt. Creek.  It's a big one.  This one was about 3/4 inch long and it still has a long way to go.  Note that the wing pads have not yet started to curl and spread.

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