Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cold fingers -- but beautiful stoneflies at Buck Mt. Creek

Still hampered by cold temperatures, cloudy skies, and high water.  But as cold as it was at the start of the day (25º when I got up), the sun was out without a cloud in the sky, so I decided to see what was up in Buck Mt. Creek.  The water was high and a little off color, but when I could find leaf packs I could find stoneflies -- and there were some beauties today!

1. Perlodid stonefly, Clioperla clio.  Tolerance value, 5.2.  Why some are orange and others are yellow I don't really know, but I photographed one of each.  This is one of the first Perlodid stoneflies we see in the fall and we'll see it well into the spring.  More photos.

and the yellow one...

2. Perlodid stonefly, Helopicus subvarians.  Tolerance value, 1.2.  Beaty says this one is "relatively uncommon," ("The Plecoptera of North Carolina," p. 21), and I suppose that it is overall, but I see a lot of them at my site in Buck Mt. Creek.  I found four in a hurry this morning, but I only took photos of one.  Still not quite mature.

3. Large winter stonefly, Strophopteryx fasciata.  Tolerance value, 3.3.  So disappointed.  I had one that was fully mature with black wing pads, but I managed to lose it!  Still, this is a nice looking insect.

4.  And for the surprise of the day -- a Giant stonefly, Pteronarcys dorsata.  Tolerance value, 2.4.  I think of this as a summer/fall insect -- and Beaty says "most abundant from June to October" (p. 28) -- but this one's still here in late winter!  I would guess the orange bands on either side of the pronotum are a sure sign that this nymph is mature.


Nothing new out there today, but the sun was right for good photos.

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