Sunday, August 5, 2012

The "Nymph of Many Colors": Acentrella Nadineae -- North Fork of the Moormans

This is an entry I wasn't going to write, not being real happy with the quality of my photos.  But, I can't resist posting some pix of this beautiful A. nadineae nymph.

I made a quick trip to the North Fork of the Moormans on Friday morning mainly looking for netspinners that I could ID to the level of species.  But I also found some small minnow mayflies: B. intercalaris, A. turbida, and A. nadineae.   At the moment, I'm finding A. nadineae nymphs in quite a few streams (good streams), but there seems to be something special about the ones that live in the North Fork of the Moormans: they're covered with red and orange markings that are especially vivid.   There is one photo that I want to show you that is not a very good photo -- not much of the nymph shows up in sharp detail -- but it makes the point about color.

Is it any wonder that this is the nymph that I like to find in the summer?  A couple more views:


I did, by the way, find some common netspinners - it would be difficult to look at rocks in any stream at the moment without finding these larvae.  When I took these photos, I thought it was a species I had not seen before.

But I was wrong.  The larvae I found were Ceratopsyche sparna, the same species I had discovered two weeks ago in PA.   The key?  There are three pale spots on the head (frontoclypeus), one in the center, the other two "anterolateral" to it (i.e. in front of it and to the sides).


I have a good friend who spends a lot of time looking for insects in the North Fork: she too has been struck by the brilliant colors of the A. nadineae nymphs that she finds in that stream.  I don't think she'll mind if I finish with one of her super close-ups of one of the nymphs she collected.  This is a "live" photo, by the way.  It was later returned to the stream.

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