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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Salmonflies
Pteronarcys californica

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

Dorsal view of a Neoleptophlebia (Leptophlebiidae) Mayfly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
Some characteristics from the microscope images for the tentative species id: The postero-lateral projections are found only on segment 9, not segment 8. Based on the key in Jacobus et al. (2014), it appears to key to Neoleptophlebia adoptiva or Neoleptophlebia heteronea, same as this specimen with pretty different abdominal markings. However, distinguishing between those calls for comparing the lengths of the second and third segment of the labial palp, and this one (like the other one) only seems to have two segments. So I'm stuck on them both. It's likely that the fact that they're immature nymphs stymies identification in some important way.
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.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Pryal74 has attached these 3 pictures to aid in identification. The message is below.
Pryal74
Pryal74's profile picture
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 168
Pryal74 on Mar 20, 2012March 20th, 2012, 4:44 pm EDT
I walked a few lesser know Steelhead streams today checking water levels and temps. The Steelhead haven't poured into the smaller streams here yet. BUT! I noticed bugs are really starting to show themselves everywhere I looked. I found these curious little insects that appeared to look like puny stoneflies. They were incredibly small! I could put about 20 of them on my thumbnail and not cover it. I was wondering if anyone knew what they might be.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Mar 20, 2012March 20th, 2012, 5:24 pm EDT
Hi Jim,

You are right, they are very tiny stoneflies. They look to be Allocapnia, probably pygmaea (Little Black Snowfly). The males are brachypterous (short winged) like this. I bet they probably looked black to the naked eye. Notice how under magnification their true Dk. chocolate brown color is revealed?

BTW, nice photos. The female's setting is pretty cool.:) Too bad there seems to be a little moisture on a part of the lense or something. Such are the limitations of inclement weather photography.

Regards,
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Falsifly
Falsifly's profile picture
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Mar 20, 2012March 20th, 2012, 5:44 pm EDT
They look to be Allocapnia, probably pygmaea


Kurt, would you rule out Allocapnia minima ?
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Mar 20, 2012March 20th, 2012, 6:29 pm EDT
No, it very well could be. It's hard to rule out a number of species definitively working with just these photos alone. Based on how many Jim said he could get on his thumbnail, pygmaea is the logical choice. A. minima is small as well, though reportedly not nearly as populous. It is also usually a little lighter (or more obvious) brown, sometimes even amber at the thoracic margins and on some of the terga as in this photo http://bugguide.net/node/view/506620
But, even this is not a rule.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Falsifly
Falsifly's profile picture
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Mar 20, 2012March 20th, 2012, 7:26 pm EDT
Actually it was the size that got me to wondering, because when I compared all the adult pictures between minima and pygmaea here:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/39481/bgpage I noticed very little difference in the size as stated. Both, depending on the pictures, showed variation in color and depicted resemblances in the thoracic margins and terga.

P.S. Sorry Kurt, we got caught between my post and your PM.
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Mar 20, 2012March 20th, 2012, 7:31 pm EDT
Aggh! We were posting at the same time. You are absolutely right, Al. Minima is also tiny and color doesn't seem to be a very dependable character. I was hoping to edit my post before you saw it, but I was too slow.:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Pryal74
Pryal74's profile picture
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 168
Pryal74 on Mar 20, 2012March 20th, 2012, 11:21 pm EDT
Thanks for your input guys. You're a huge help. I couldn't BELIEVE how tiny they were. I couldn't get my camera to stay in macro they (and I) were scrambling around. Are these the smallest of the stones? I have sharp eyes (especially to movement) and noticed one on a rock by the water line. I looked along the shore for more and found them in good numbers in certain areas. You can see the hair on my arm where I put on one my skin for better contrast.(Or so I thought)

My camera takes some abuse... I must admit.

Thanks again you guys!
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Mar 20, 2012March 20th, 2012, 11:49 pm EDT
If that first one had been in a little sharper focus, we're talking award winning in my book. With everything a guide has to do, you must be commended for grabbing photos like this of something so tiny in weather. Kudos!!
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Mar 21, 2012March 21st, 2012, 1:50 pm EDT
Jim,

For your stream lore file, Allocapnia pygmaea is incredibly abundant on many of your streams. Some studies mention that their numbers can be so great that they can outnumber all other species with the possible exception of some midges or black flies. One of the reasons they show up so infrequently in angler stream samples is because they live really deep in the substrate most of the year, sometimes measured in feet not inches! They can hatch well into the spring, and many people running into swarms of them along the banks mistake them for forest termites or ants that they closely resemble.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Pryal74
Pryal74's profile picture
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 168
Pryal74 on Mar 21, 2012March 21st, 2012, 2:39 pm EDT
@ Entoman, this is one of the main reasons I love this forum. You fine fellows possess such a wealth of knowledge and are willing to help someone like myself.

I did have some slight film on the lens of my camera. I will need it charged and clean for another day of Steelheading tomorrow.

As I was saying, I couldn't believe their size. I checked out the links you provided above. That definitely is the bug in question. I had one on me at first but he fell off. It almost looked like a tiny duck louse at first glance, but upon further investigation I could see he had some tell tale signs of a stonefly.

Don't go thanking me on my shoddy camera work now! Haha!

Once again, thanks for helping me out on my Entomology.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Mar 21, 2012March 21st, 2012, 3:57 pm EDT
Ha! Flattery will get you everywhere.:)

BTW - if you are able to get a good closeup from the side and from overhead of the last 4 abdominal segs of the male (short wings), I'm pretty confident we can nail down the species with certainty as the two possibilities are pretty different there.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Mar 23, 2012March 23rd, 2012, 1:50 am EDT
Al-

As luck would have it, DiscoverLife.org has the two species side by side
http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?search=Allocapnia.

Comparing the wing venation of the females and the conformation of the males with each other and then against these specimens, I think they show pygmaea the better match. Let me know what you think.

"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Falsifly
Falsifly's profile picture
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Mar 23, 2012March 23rd, 2012, 8:44 am EDT
pygmaea it is. Thanks for the link, I don't know how I missed it on my many searches, but it's bookmarked now.

Good work as usual Kurt.
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Mar 23, 2012March 23rd, 2012, 10:51 am EDT
Al-

Well, as the old saying goes,"I'd rather be lucky than good." :) Thank's for questioning my false color and size assumptions. It seems like we learn something new with every one of these. The collaboration we share is a big reason why this forum is so valuable & fun!
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman

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