Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Insects in the Moormans

I took a look at the Moormans this morning -- above and below the first bridge.  The most excitement?
I saw quite a few trout!  I wish they were natives, but that's very unlikely, they've probably drifted downstream from the area stocked by Trout Unlimited for fly fishermen.  But they've managed to find some beautiful pools in this part of the river.

I can't say I found anything very exciting today, though it was neat to see the tiny nymph in the photo above: a "narrow-winged damselfly," family: Coenagrionidae.  This is a part of the stream where I always find "dragons and damsels," as well as a whole bunch of snails: Pleurocerids, Physids, and Planorbids.
I'll start seriously searching for dragons and damsels in the Rivanna anytime now.  Still, it was fun to find this little one in the Moormans, and I also saw some hatched adults flying around.  This is one of the smallest Coenagrionids I've seen.

I also found another nice Darner dragonfly nymph, genus Boyeria, as I did on my last stop at this part of the stream.  Given the length of the wing pads on this one, it will be airborne before very long.

I still saw quite a few Perlesta common stoneflies in the Moormans, both large and small, and one mature Acroneuria Perlid that should have hatched by now.  The rocks were covered with flatheaded mayflies, some E. vitreus, some too small to ID.   And to my surprise, in the leaves -- which is where the stoneflies were crawling around -- I found 3-4 Whirligig Beetles as I did yesterday at Buck Mt. Creek!

But I was again disappointed in my search for small minnow mayflies.  I finally did find a few wiggling around on the rocks.  They turned out to be Baetis flavistriga, the most tolerant of the Baetids we find.  At 4-6 mm, they're also one of the smallest.  The largest one that I found (in the second photo below) was 4.5 mm.


Below: A mature Coenagrionid (narrow-winged damselfly) from the Rivanna River.  Photo taken last summer.

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