Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Always Something New: Off to Another New Stream
This afternoon, my friend who lives in Sugar Hollow took me to yet another small stream that empties into the Moormans. It seems with every new stream that we visit we find something new. This is our common Perlodid stonefly, Clioperla clio, but the head pattern isn't quite right -- well, if we follow the guide books that is. The yellow space in the center should be uninterrupted. Here's what Clioperla clio nymphs "normally" look like.
But on two of the nymphs that I found today, there's a "tulip" shaped dark spot filling the ocellar triangle.
I've never seen this before -- and I've seen a lot of Clioperla clios. In fact, I saw 8-10 nymphs today, only two of which had this new pattern. Since everyone says there is only one species of Clioperla in the southeast (i.e. clio), I have to assume that this is some odd variation -- or perhaps this is a sub-species of C. clio, or maybe this is what C. clio looks like when it's fully mature. I've seen these photos to Steven Beaty, and I'll let you know if I hear anything back.
The other insects I saw today that had a pattern we do not see all that often were Peltoperlid (Roach-like) stoneflies, genus Peltoperla: we can ID this genus by the three dark pigmented spots on the meso and metanota (see the entry posted on 10/20/11).
But most of the insects that we found today were pretty much things we'd expect to see in this kind of stream at this time of year: the leaf packs were loaded with Spiny Crawler mayflies, and the rocks (bottoms) were covered with Epeorus pleuralis flatheaded mayflies. Here are some other photos from today's trip.
1. Flatheaded mayfly: Epeorus pleuralis. This one was mature; most that I saw were not.
2. An Ameletid mayfly, one that's still pretty young (note the short wing pads).
And side-by-side with a Spiny Crawler (I think it's E. invaria, but I have to check to be sure).
3. A Uenoid case-maker caddis. They seem to be gone -- or pupating -- down in the valleys. But in these colder streams in the mountains, there are still quite a few clinging to rocks.
5. A Freeliving caddisfly larva, Rhyacophila carolina (burnt orange head and pronotum).
6. And a couple of Isoperla Perlodid stoneflies -- species unknown (see the previous entry). Whatever the species turns out to be, it seems to be common in the small mountain streams in Sugar Hollow. In this stream, by the way, I did not see a single Isoperla namata.
Orange blossoms from a flowering bush in the woods of Virginia during the spring.