This is a summary of where things stand with this blog at the end of two years, and some thoughts on current and future directions.
I've been surprised with the interest shown in this blog, but pleased to know there are so many people who share my fascination with aquatic insects. The number of page views at the moment -- after two years of posting -- stands at 54, 124. The blog has been viewed from people from 128 different countries; as you might expect, the largest number of viewers is from the U.S. The top five countries are:
1. United States: 34,958
2. Canada: 2427
3. United Kingdom: 1635
4. Russia: 1260
5. Romania: 814
The highest number of page views for a single month came in May: 3859.
II. What's been accomplished?
At the end of last year, some of you may recall, I thought about giving this up and moving on to something new. Frankly, I was pretty sure that I had found all of the species I was going to find in our local streams -- that I'd have nothing new to say in future blog entries. I could not have been more wrong. By my count, I've found about 30 new insects this year, things I had not seen before, or things -- like common netspinners -- that I had never identified to the level of species. Here's my list. (Reminder: "new" simply means "new to my collection.")
A. Small minnow mayflies
1. Baetis tricaudatus (new)
2. Heterocloeon petersi (new)
3. Iswaeon anoka (new)
4. Plauditus dubius (new)
B. Flatheaded mayflies
1. Maccaffertium merririvulanum (new)
2. Cinygmula subaequalis (new)
C. Spiny crawler mayflies
1. Drunella cornutella (new)
2. Ephemerella invaria (newly identified)
3. Teloganopsis deficiens (new)
D. Other mayflies
1. pronggilled mayfly, new genus: Leptophlebia
2. common burrower mayfly: Ephemera guttalata (new)
1. new small winter stonefly: Paracapnia angulata
2. new genus of green stonefly: Alloperla
3. new genus of green stonefly: Haploperla
4. new common stonefly: Agnetina annulipes
5. new common stonefly: Paragnetina media (Pennsylvania)
6. new Perlodid stonefly: Isoperla dicala
7. new Perlodid stonefly: Malirekus hastatus
8. giant stonefly species, now identified: Pteronarcys proteus
A. Common netspinners, now identified to the level of species
1. Ceratopsyche alhedra
2. Ceratopsyche bronta
3. Ceratopsyche morosa
4. Ceratopsyche slossonae
5. Ceratopsyche sparna
6. Hydropsyche betteni
7. Hydropsyche rossi
8. Hydropsyche venularis
B. Other caddisflies
1. freeliving caddisfly: Rhyacophila carolina (now identified to species)
2. freeliving caddisfly: Rhyacophila nigrita (new)
3. freeliving caddisfly: Rhyacophila glaberrima (new)
4. northern case-maker: Pycnopsyche gentilis (now identified to species)
5. northern case-maker: Pycnopsyche scabripennis (now identified to species)
6. Apatania incerta: (new species in a new family of case-makers, Apataniidae)
III. Current and future directions
When I started this blog at the end of 2010, my intention was simply to report on my weekly stream visits, noting which insects I found in which streams at certain times of the year. I also posted entries on the different families of aquatic macroinvertebrates that we encounter in our streams in central Virginia, noting the different genera, where I could make those distinctions, and adding microscope photos for those families and those genera. My interests at the moment are these:
1. to find and identify to the level of genus -- and where I can to the level of species -- all of the different mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies (nymphs and larvae) that live in our streams in this part of Virginia. I.e. I want to make our "EPT Species List for Central Virginia" as complete as I can.
2. to continually work on my photography, getting better and sharper photos of these beautiful larvae and nymphs.
3. to continue with "stream reports," adding more and more new streams to the list of places that I explore. I have no doubt that some of our remote mountain streams contain new taxa to add to our list.
4. to carefully identify all new taxa in blog entries, using microscope photos of important morphological features.
5. to increasingly work on species level ID for those taxa that, in the past, I have only identified to the level of genus. I was able to do that with a lot of common netspinners this summer, and at the moment I'm keen on doing it with our genus Neophylax Uenoids.
I appreciate the comments and support that I get from readers, and I hope that readers, like myself, are enjoying learning -- in detail -- about something new.
(Below: the spiny crawler mayfly, Teloganopsis deficiens, another of the new taxa discovered this year.)