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Lateral view of a Male Baetis (Baetidae) (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #43 in New York
Blue-winged Olives

Tiny Baetis mayflies are perhaps the most commonly encountered and imitated by anglers on all American trout streams due to their great abundance, widespread distribution, and trout-friendly emergence habits.

Dorsal view of a Holocentropus (Polycentropodidae) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This one seems to tentatively key to Holocentropus, although I can't make out the anal spines in Couplet 7 of the Key to Genera of Polycentropodidae Larvae nor the dark bands in Couplet 4 of the Key to Genera of Polycentropodidae Larvae, making me wonder if I went wrong somewhere in keying it out. I don't see where that could have happened, though. It might also be that it's a very immature larva and doesn't possess all the identifying characteristics in the key yet. If Holocentropus is correct, then Holocentropus flavus and Holocentropus interruptus are the two likely possibilities based on range, but I was not able to find a description of their larvae.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
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Dark Brown Duns

Like most common names,"Dark Brown Dun" can refer to more than one taxon. They're previewed below, along with 2 specimens. For more detail click through to the scientific names.

Mayfly Species Ameletus cooki

These are sometimes called Dark Brown Duns.
Dorsal view of a Ameletus cooki (Ameletidae) (Brown Dun) Mayfly Nymph from the South Fork Snoqualmie River in Washington
I caught this Ameletus nymph with several others of the same kind. This was the most vivid example, but they all had quite a bit of striking and unusual red shading, especially on the last few abdominal segments.

I keyed it out under the microscope using Larvae and adults of Ameletus mayflies (Ephemeroptera: Ameletidae) from Alberta with slightly larger (10 mm), mature specimen with darkened wingpads. Microscope pictures are from that specimen. The characteristics in the key and most of the verification table point pretty clearly to Ameletus cooki, except that the coloration of the antennae more closely resembles Ameletus sparsatus. However, on other characteristics in which these species differ (spines on the dorsal surface of the front femora, which seem very short in this specimen; length of posterolateral spines on segments 8–9; length of spines on posterior edge of tergites 6–9), this is a better match for cooki, and that's probably the correct ID.

Mayfly Species Diphetor hageni

These are very rarely called Dark Brown Duns.
This is one of the most important species of the Baetidae family. It is distributed across the country but most of its fame comes from excellent hatches in the West. Prior to many other former species being combined with Baetis tricaudatus, most angling literature considered it the most populous and widespread western species of the Baetidae family.


  • Zloty, J and Pritchard, G. 1997. Larvae and adults of Ameletus mayflies (Ephemeroptera: Ameletidae) from Alberta. Canadian Entomologist 129: 251-289.

Dark Brown Duns

Scientific Names
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