The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.
|Option 1||Option 2|
|Gills present on one or more thoracic segments (sf 16.145)||Gills absent from thoracic segments|
|Remaining genera: Megarcys, Oroperla, Perlinodes, Salmoperla, and Setvena||Remaining genera: Baumannella, Calliperla, Cascadoperla, Chernokrilus, Clioperla, Cosumnoperla, Cultus, Diploperla, Diura, Frisonia, Helopicus, Hydroperla, Isogenoides, Isoperla, Kogotus, Malirekus, Oconoperla, Osobenus, Pictetiella, Remenus, Rickera, Skwala, Susulus, and Yugus|
1 Example Specimen
As far as I can tell, this species has only previously been reported from one site in Oregon along the Columbia gorge. However, the key characteristics are fairly unmistakable in all except for one minor detail:
— 4 small yellow spots on frons visible in photos
— Narrow occipital spinule row curves forward (but doesn’t quite meet on stem of ecdysial suture, as it's supposed to in this species)
— Short spinules on anterior margin of front legs
— Short rposterior row of blunt spinules on abdominal tergae, rather than elongated spinules dorsally
I caught several of these mature nymphs in the fishless, tiny headwaters of a creek high in the Wenatchee Mountains.
5 Example Specimens
This specimen represents a common find in a late-April sample from the far upper Yakima River. It seems to be the same species as another one I collected previously. Of the species keyed in Szczytko & Stewart 1979, it probably matches Isoperla fusca closest, but there's a good chance it's a species that wasn't in the key. The leg segments have a fringe of fine hairs which is supposed to be absent in Isoperla fusca, and the four dark stripes of the mesonotum and metanotum don't continue as 4 separate stripes on the pronotum as they should in the description of fusca. It's possible fusca is more variable than previously described, or this is a different species not included in that key. It's also worth noting there's definitely no fringe of fine setae on any part of the cerci, just the whorls of little stout ones around segment bases.
This one took an embarrassingly long time to identify, because the key I was following sent me on a wild goose chase when I interpreted the longitudinal dorsal stripe on the abdomen of this specimen as a "longitudinal pigment band." I've updated the key text on this site so that mistake isn't so easy for others to make.
This specimen keys pretty well to Cultus. Key characteristics observed under the microscope but not necessarily apparent on my photo are the lack of submental gills (or any gills at all), the lack of short, stout setae on the occiput or anterolateral prothoracic margins, and the lack of a low knob below the subapical tooth on the lacinia. Species known to be found in Washington are Cultus pilatus and Cultus tostonus. It clearly does not fit the description by Frison (1942) of Diploperla pilata, as Cultus pilatus was first named. I cannot find a detailed description of the nymph of tostonus, but Ricker 1952 describes a defining character of the adults, "Head mostly yellow, the only important dark marking being the bands which join the anterior to the lateral ocelli ; median pronotal stripe, at its middle, about one-fifth of the width of the pronotum." The nymph shows a very dark pattern fitting that description on the head (likely retained into adulthood) and the pronotal stripe is about the right width, too. Given that visual description, the range, and the poor fit to pilatus, I'm calling this Cultus tostonus.
|Go to Couplet 2||Go to Couplet 6|