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.
|Option 1||Option 2|
|First (basal) tarsal segment at least as long as the third (apical) tarsal segment ||First tarsal segment much shorter than third tarsal segment |
|Tarsi completely sclerotized on venter||Mid and basal tarsal segments with well-developed ventral membraneous pads|
|Remaining families: Capniidae, Leuctridae, Nemouridae, and Taeniopterygidae||Remaining families: Chloroperlidae, Peltoperlidae, Perlidae, Perlodidae, and Pteronarcyidae|
5 Example Specimens
This is the smallest stonefly I've ever collected, with a body only 5.5 mm long.
Although not in-focus in my pictures, its first tarsal segment is similar in length to the third, while the second is much shorter. This helps with family-level identification.
Examining this specimen under a microscope shows a membranous lobe on the dorsal base of the cerci, which is the key characteristic in Merritt & Cummins (4th ed.) to place the genus definitively as Malenka.
Following the species key in Jewett Jr's Stoneflies of the Pacific Northwest, the species appears to be Malenka tina. My dissecting microscope seems to show sternite 9 ending in a rounded knob, which distinguishes it from Malenka bifurcata, but the detail is hard to work out.
Also worth noting is that Montana appears to have this species, whereas birfucata is not know there: http://fieldguide.mt.gov/displaySpecies.aspx?family=Nemouridae
A few of these tiny stoneflies were among the only species of aquatic insect adults in the air on this particular afternoon, with most of the action coming from a species of Epeorus mayfly. I somehow forgot to photograph this one on the usual ruler, but I recall it was very, very small, with an abdomen no more than 1mm in girth and the body, not counting the wings, probably just 5-7mm long.
This drowned Capniidae adult showed up in my drift net sample while I was looking for nymphs. I took photos of the drowned adult in water like a nymph.
5 Example Specimens
Family-level ID following Merritt, Cummins, & Berg 5th Edition:
1. Thoracic gill remnants absent
2. Arms of mesosternal Y-ridge approach posterior end of furcal pits
3. Submental gill remnants short, obscure, or absent
4. Male. Note that sternum 9 (the long, dark, last segment) appears to be the 8th if you count from the front in the ventral view, because the first segment is not easily visible ventrally.
5. Male abdominal tergum 10 not divided posteriorly; Paraprocts modified as hooks.
6. Male abdominal tergum 10 simple without notches or other prominent processes. This one was tricky, because at first glance it looks like the hooks arise from tergum 10, but in fact they're coming from the paraprocts underneath. There's a medial groove on tergum 10 that could be seen as a "notch" too, but it seems by "notch" the key is referring to a notch in the margin.
7. Abdominal sternum 8 with a conspicuous lobe and sternum 7 without such a lobe.
This leads to Isoperla.
Among Isoperla species known in Washington, most species are ruled out by different shapes of the vesicle (the rounded posterior bump on sternum 8). Isoperla pinta is ruled out by the lack of a region of stout spinules on tergum 9. The remaining options (without knowing how to properly dissect and image the aedeagus) are Isoperla fulva, Isoperla marmorata, Isoperla tilasqua, and Isoperla gravitans, the latter of which is too large. The other three are all at least slim possibilities, but several described characteristics seem to best match Isoperla fulva, which is also mentioned as the most common western Isoperla.
I keyed this specimen to Paragnetina, and range maps would seem to rule out every species of that genus except for the common Paragnetina media.
The family ID on this one was a little bit tricky. Just going by the size, shape, and color, it looks like Chloroperlidae. However, the second anal vein of the forewing is does not appear to be forked, and the apical maxillary palpal segment is close to the length of the penultimate segment, both of which rule out that family. The position of the cubitoanal crossvein relative to the anal cell in the forewing -- touching it in this case -- indicates Perlidae (and it really doesn't have the "look" of Perlidae at all), but other characteristics, such as the metathorastic sternacostal sutures and lack of gill remnants, point to Perlodidae. That's the right answer. Moving on to Perlodidae, the key characteristics in Merritt & Cummins lead straightforwarly to Isoperla, and the species key in Jewett 1959 (The Stoneflies of the Pacific Northwest) leads to Isoperla fusca.
There is one caveat: That source does suggest a May-July emergence, whereas this one was collected in mid-September.
|Go to Couplet 2||Go to Couplet 5|