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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

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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Fallen513 has attached these 2 pictures to aid in identification. The message is below.
Posts: 2
Fallen513 on Jul 31, 2010July 31st, 2010, 3:37 pm EDT
No idea about this guy, not necessarily important to trout but I knew someone here can probably nail it or at least point me in the right direction. It's the first time I've seen these type of antennae on a dragonfly type insect.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on Jul 31, 2010July 31st, 2010, 3:59 pm EDT

It's an Antlion (Myrmeleontidae), possibly Myrmeleon.
Posts: 2
Fallen513 on Aug 1, 2010August 1st, 2010, 5:38 am EDT
Thanks so much Gonzo! You're amazing! :)

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Posts: 470
Gutcutter on Aug 1, 2010August 1st, 2010, 9:03 am EDT
awesome photo, seth
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Aug 3, 2010August 3rd, 2010, 7:56 pm EDT
Yep, definitely not a member of the order Odonata - their antennae are so short you have to look for them with a magnifying glass at minimum (pretty hard to do when they're on the wing...). Most definitely an antlion as Gonzo says. You don't see the adults very often, unless perhaps you're an entomologist who stays up late at night staring at white sheets hung beneath blacklights (I admit I have indeed done this...).

However, their larvae can often be spotted in sandy areas as little dimples in the soil. This is where they get their name - those are pitfall traps for hapless, unsuspecting ants who tumble in to their deaths at the curved, sickle-shaped jaws of their killers. You can see this in action by dropping in your own hapless ants...This is the stuff of which SOOOOOO many science fiction horror films are dreamed up, as in just imagine if they got to be three feet long. Then again, I suppose we would learn to avoid funny funnel-shaped dimples in the sand, although doubtless a few hapless children or pets might fall in...Yep, good thing they are so small...


P.S. This critter belongs to the order Neuroptera, home of such other amazing creatures as the mantisfly, snakefly, and owlfly...and also lacewings and even one who's larvae feed on freshwater sponges!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...

Posts: 6
Kcnal on Aug 10, 2010August 10th, 2010, 3:47 pm EDT
A truly amazing picture! I feel the same way about the answer. Great educational material...thanks to all!
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Sayfu on Nov 4, 2011November 4th, 2011, 5:03 am EDT

Brought me to think of something I saw on a commercially tied flies page. Rainy Flies Co. has a dry damsel that has perpendicular wings to the body. I have had some fun, and productive days fishing dry damsels on lakes, but have tied the wings parallel to the body, and assumed the difference in the position of the wings between a damsel, and the perpendicular wings of a dragon fly. Do damsels end up spent on the water with their wings in a perpendicular position by chance? And because of the notion the wings are parallel to the body on a damsel, I do not even include wings on some patterns.

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