Friday, March 14, 2014

Just beautiful insects: back to the Rapidan River

The Rapidan River is chock-a-block full of insects at the moment, and a lot of them are pretty mature, getting ready for springtime emergence.  It was a sunny, early spring morning, and here are some of the beauties I found.

1. Spiny crawler mayfly, Ephemerella subvaria.  "Rare" according to Beaty ("The Ephemeroptera of North Carolina," p. 28), but there are plenty today at the Rapidan River.  By the looks of those wing pads, the "Hendrickson" hatch should be "on" up here anytime now.   The "moderately long, sharp paired submedian tubercles" (Beaty, p. 28)  are easy to see against those orange terga (5-7).

More photos:


2. Brush-legged mayfly, genus Isonychiia.    They mature later on in the summer, but this is the stage when they're most photogenic.


3.  Flatheaded mayfly, Epeorus pleuralis.  All over the bottoms of rocks, just like they are in a lot of our streams at the moment.  Black wing pads.  Another hatch on the way -- the "Quill Gordons."


4. Small minnow mayfly, Baetis tricaudatus -- also with fairly long wing pads.


5. A familiar face in the free-living caddisfly world.  The most common Rhyacophilid we see, R. fuscula.


6. A very dark Roach-like stonefly, probably genus Tallaperla.


7. And the most common taxa I saw -- literally hundreds and hundreds -- the Perlodid stonefly,  Isoperla montana/sp.  It's the most common Perlodid we see.  BIG hatch of "Yellow Sallies" coming up soon.


Out again soon -- as soon as I can dry out my boots.  I got greedy at the end of the day, looking for Nemourids and ended up taking a swim.  Warm day -- but very cold water!

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