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Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

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Female Epeorus frisoni Mayfly Dun Pictures

I collected this female dun together with a female spinner, a male dun, and a larger, damaged male dun.

This mayfly was collected from Mystery Creek #23 in New York on September 6th, 2006 and added to Troutnut.com by Troutnut on October 3rd, 2006.

Discussions of this Dun

Probably E. fragilis, but...
1 replies
Posted by GONZO on Apr 8, 2009
Last reply on Apr 8, 2009 by Troutnut
Both the process of elimination and reading published descriptions of Eastern Epeorus (pleuralis group) seem to leave fragilis as the only likely possibility for this specimen (as well as the related ones--#630, #631, and #633). The collection date is near the emergence range given for fragilis, and they match the description of this species in nearly every way except one: size.

Burian, et al. (2008) provide a key for Northeastern Epeorus adults that uses size as a significant means of distinguishing between fragilis and frisoni. They describe fragilis as less than 6.80mm. All of these specimens are larger, ranging from about 7mm-8.5mm. This puts them squarely within the range given for (the very similar) frisoni--6.83mm-9.42mm.

Although frisoni is described as being lighter in color than these specimens, two comments from the Burian publication are particularly interesting in this regard:

At least one of us believes that a thorough search of suitable, higher elevation, cold streams in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Adirondacks of New York, and the Gaspe area of Quebec should result in the discovery of several new records [of frisoni].

The habitat association of E. frisoni with cold (even in summer), high gradient, minimally disturbed streams at or above 1200' (~365m) could be used to identify some of the best high elevation lotic habitats for conservation purposes. Variation among the New England subset of the eastern Nearctic genus Epeorus strongly points to the need for a full revision of this genus.

It would probably be reasonable to place these specimens as (size-anomalous) fragilis under the current taxonomic scheme. However, the stream in which they were captured seems to fit the above criteria pretty well. It would be very interesting to see someone like Konchu investigate this population further.

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Female Epeorus frisoni Mayfly Dun Pictures

Collection details
Location: Mystery Creek #23, New York
Date: September 6th, 2006
Added to site: October 3rd, 2006
Author: Troutnut
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