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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 Pycnopsyche guttifera (Limnephilidae) (Great Autumn Brown Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This specimen appears to be of the same species as this one collected in the same spot two months earlier. The identification of both is tentative. This one suffered some physical damage before being photographed, too, so the colors aren't totally natural. I was mostly photographing it to test out some new camera setting idea, which worked really well for a couple of closeups.
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.

Dorsal view of a Taenionema atlanticum (Taeniopterygidae) (Willowfly) Stonefly Nymph from Mystery Creek #62 in New York
PeterO
Posts: 8
PeterO on Apr 25, 2007April 25th, 2007, 4:34 am EDT
This is actually a specimen of the family Taeniopterygidae, probably Taenionema atlanticum. Notice the large sternal plate at the apex of the abdomen. This plate is used in drumming behavior. Adult Taeniopterygids mimic the sounds of male Ruffed Grouse in an attempt to draw in female grouse to parasitize. They attach themselves at the base of the beak and feed until gorged. They then mate, smoke a cigarette, lay some eggs, and die. On a serious note, all Taeniopterygids except species of Taeniopteryx, have the drumming plate. Nemourids are lacking this feature. There is a difference in the second tarsal segment as well. Happy Bugging!

PeterO
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Troutnut on Apr 25, 2007April 25th, 2007, 6:04 am EDT
Interesting! I guess I quickly skipped over that family because the specimens I'm used to seeing from that family in Taeniopteryx have a more conspicuous triangular outline formed by their wingpads.

How loud and deep is the stonefly's drumming? Can it really be mistaken for a grouse, or is it higher-pitched?
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Earlfishman
Posts: 17
Earlfishman on Apr 25, 2007April 25th, 2007, 6:31 am EDT
Just a hunch, but I think PeterO might be pulling our cerci...

On the other hand, a large number of Taenionema atlanticum might be able to overpower a very small grouse...

Either way, it would make for an interesting story, particularly if they turned out to be venemous.

Earl
PeterO
Posts: 8
PeterO on Apr 25, 2007April 25th, 2007, 6:50 am EDT
Earl-

we all know that venomous stoneflies are just an urban myth.... venomous mayflies on the other hand...

mr narcellasp
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Troutnut on Apr 25, 2007April 25th, 2007, 7:55 am EDT
Well, I didn't buy the whole grouse story. I assume the part about the stonefly drumming in some way is true, though, since plenty of other insects do that. What does it really sound like, or is it not audible to people?
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
PeterO
Posts: 8
PeterO on Apr 25, 2007April 25th, 2007, 8:30 am EDT
Jason-

it's not audible to the human ear. I have heard some recordings of drumming though. Taeniopterygids are known for it, but I also think some Perlodids and Chloroperlids might as well. Podmosta is a western Nemourid. Prostoia is very common in Tompkins county, especially in smaller, cooler creeks like Sixmile. You can also find Soyedina in the area. It's larger, and has a squarish pronotum with a lateral notch. I've collected it in Salmon Creek at Ludlowville. Those are really the only two Nemourids you're going to encounter with any regularity.

peterO
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Troutnut on Apr 25, 2007April 25th, 2007, 10:03 am EDT
Neat. Any thoughts on the identity of the other Nemourids I have labeled on this site?

When I labeled this one Podmosta I was just keying it through Merrit & Cummins, but it's pretty easy for me to make a wrong turn in those keys.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist

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