It's an E. invaria spiny crawler. It's not the first one we've seen, but it's the first one we've seen with the beautiful colors of a nymph that's almost mature. Here are three more photos of the same insect.
My plan was to venture up to South River this morning, but in the end I headed off to the Doyles. First stop -- up at the very top of the valley, but this spiny crawler was further downstream at Blufton Road. So too was this colorful, male, Heterocloeon amplum small minnow mayfly.
One more beautiful insect I found at that location: Perlodid stonefly, Clioperla clio. Note how the wing pads are starting to spread away from the body.
At my upstream site on the Doyles, I found a totally different group of insects. Under the rocks, the flatheaded mayfly, Epeorus pleuralis.
In all of the streams that I visit that are in or close to the mountains, E. pleuralis nymphs own the rocks at the moment. Turn a rock over and you won't see much of anything else. They are really prolific at this time of year in this part of Virginia, and where there are trout, they provide mighty good fishing when they hatch as the Quill Gordons.
Also at the upper Doyles site, lots of large winter stoneflies, Strophopteryx fasciata. Look in the leaf packs. I can't swear that the Taeniopteryx burksi/maura large winter stonefies are "gone" (= hatched), but it's been awhile since I've seen them.
Look at the length of those antennae!
Three other things.
1. Perlodid stoneflies, Isoperla namata. They're all over the place at the moment, and we'll be seeing them in large numbers from now well into April.
2. A less mature H. amplum small minnow mayfly, also a male. Note how at this stage they seem to have four eyes, two on each side. These eventually merge forming large red eyes that we see when they're mature.
3. And can I make a report at the moment without a few shots of at least one Uenoid? Upper Doyles -- the rocks were covered with them: just walk through the stream and look down. I kept three larvae to check for the species ID. They were all Neophylax consimilis. Note the pale orange stripe on the head.
Up to South River on Monday. Until then, it's back to the clouds and the rain and the snow. Ugh!