Saturday, May 18, 2013

Buck Mt. Creek -- a Perlodid stonefly "factory"

Buck Mt. Creek originates in the northern part of Albemarle county, not far from the boundary of the Shenandoah National Park.  I look for insects 10-12 miles southeast of that location at the junction of Catterton Road and Free Union Road, 2-3 miles east of the town of Free Union.   I remember it being rated a little bit over average when I monitored streams.  Still, my impression is that it's the "richest" stream that I visit in terms of the variety of aquatic insects it holds: mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, dragons and damsels, diptera and beetles.  One of these days I intend to compile a list of the EPT species that I've found in that stream since I started writing this blog.

And it's a "factory" for Perlodid stoneflies.  I've found more Perlodid species in BMC (Buck Mt. Creek) than in any of the streams I explore, with the possible exception of the Rapidan River.  So I thought I should publish the list, with photos, noting the tolerance values.  I'll divide them up by season, noting the months when we're most likely to see them.  Most of these photos were taken at Buck Mt. Creek.

I. Fall, Winter: October -- March

1. Clioperla clio: TV, 5.2

2. Diploperla duplicata: TV, 2.8

3. Helopicus subvarians: TV, 1.2

II. Spring: March -- May

4. Isoperla montana/n. sp.: TV, 2.5

5.  Isoperla davisi: TV undetermined

6. Isoperla dicala: TV undetermined

7.  Isoperla sp. (possibly I. orata): TV, 0.0

III. Spring - Summer: April -- June

8. Isoperla holochlora: TV, 0.7

9. Remenus bilobatus: TV, 0.9

Nine species -- well, nine species and counting.  I won't be surprised if this list continues to grow.
Buck Mt. Creek remains one of my favorite streams in the county in terms of insect populations -- and I admit to being partial to Perlodid stones!

(The riffles pictured at the top of the page and in the photo below are the two sites where I find most of these insects.)

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