Saturday, May 23, 2015

A new stream -- Staunton Run -- but nothing in the way of new insects


It was worth a try -- and the scenery was hard to beat.  I parked at the Graves Mill entrance to the Shenandoah National Park, where I look for insects in the Rapidan River.  But today I decided to hike up to Staunton Run just a half mile away.  Just spectacular!  And if I ever wanted my fly rod along, today was the day.  Staunton is a high gradient stream with boulders and riffles and pools, and those pools just had to hold native Brookies (Brook Trout).  But alas...

I was quite sure I'd see different insects today, but I'm afraid it's too late in the season.   The stream was loaded with I. holochloras (Isoperla holochlora A), one of the few Isoperlas we see in late spring/early summer.   There were too many to count.


Some spiny crawlers (E. dorothea) -- most of them fairly mature, and some showing black wing pads.   Two other things.  Clumps of submerged sticks and leaves held a lot of Roach-like stoneflies (Peltoperlidae): most of them were also mature.  Like this one.


I was hopeful that they might be the allusive genus Vieholperla, but they were not.  They were genus Tallaperla.  One of the clues -- the double thoracic gills.


The other thing I saw in large numbers -- the Northern case-makers, Pycnopsyche scabripennis.  I only took photos of one, but the only photos that turned out well were the close-ups.


The old "hot dog" case: long sticks on the sides, bits and pieces of bark in the middle.




As you can see, the sun was a bit of problem (reflection and glare).  Next year I've got to get to this stream early on in the spring.  Have to see if I can find any new Isoperlas.  And I'll probably be packing my fly rod!




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