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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 Sweltsa (Chloroperlidae) (Sallfly) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
This species was fairly abundant in a February sample of the upper Yakima.
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.

Shawnny3 has attached this picture to aid in identification. The message is below.
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Jun 20, 2012June 20th, 2012, 5:49 pm EDT
I know we've been through this before, but tonight I saw these guys IN the stream in numbers that were hard to believe. The algae in the middle of the stream was covered with thousands and thousands of them, all alive and well as far as I could tell. The pic covers the breadth of colors pretty well.

-Shawn

P.S. I am now taking a vial with me to the stream and will attempt to photograph bugs before I ask the experts to identify them. I know this probably insults their capabilities and makes the ID's too easy, but I figure it's the least I can do.
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Taxon
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Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Jun 20, 2012June 20th, 2012, 8:26 pm EDT
Hi Shawn-

They are actually millipedes, as they have two pair of legs on each segment, as opposed to the one pair which centipedes have. Millipedes are sightless, and their migrations seem not to be deterred by crossing a stream. I've plowed this field before, and as far as I was able to determine, there aren't any aquatic species of millipedes, but they certainly seem to have a single-mindedness of purpose. :-).
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 21, 2012June 21st, 2012, 5:51 am EDT
Shawn,

Did you see any fish taking them? I hope not...My boxes are filled to the brim as it is! :)

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Jun 21, 2012June 21st, 2012, 7:46 am EDT
Fish weren't taking anything. Well, except for a little inchworm pattern that's kept me from a skunking many times - I picked up a few on that. Tough fishing on a really tough little creek. I had to earn my fish.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jun 21, 2012June 21st, 2012, 8:22 am EDT
I saw those too -earlier this spring in the Hudson Valley. They were under wet soggy leaf litter we turned when looking for salamanders along a very small headwater stream. Same centipede-like millipedes. Speaking of centipedes, a buddy and I found a HUGE pale centipede in SE CO a month or so ago. It was ~8" long and leg sprawl probably an inch. Talk about the heeby-jeebys. My friend collected it to send to a centipede specialist. It turned out to be a common plains species, but at the far northern edge of its range.
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jun 21, 2012June 21st, 2012, 9:06 am EDT
Ah, come on Spence! Tie some vinyl rib on a long shank hook, rib with saddle in the gaps and trim to shape. Load up them boxes, man! :)
"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
Jmw975
Guelph, Ontario

Posts: 20
Jmw975 on Jun 23, 2012June 23rd, 2012, 6:04 pm EDT
I know there are aquatic millipedes in Australia, but I've never heard of any in North America. I'll look into this further and see if I can find any info!

Jeff
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jun 24, 2012June 24th, 2012, 10:12 am EDT
Shawn,

Fish weren't taking anything. Well, except for a little inchworm pattern that's kept me from a skunking many times

Interesting... Same general silhouette as the millipedes - similar size?
"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
Taxon
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Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Jun 24, 2012June 24th, 2012, 12:01 pm EDT
Dear Dr. Shelley,

Are there any aquatic millipedes in N. America? My belief is that there are not, but I just discovered your specialty on BugGuide, and thought this would be a great opportunity to find out for sure.



Sincerely,

Roger Rohrbeck
Mercer Island, WA
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com

No, there are no aquatic millipeds in N America or anywhere else in the world. This is because they lack a structure, a gill, to extract oxygen from water; their respiratory system is specially adapted for extracting oxygen from air, just like ours as humans is. However, there are many millipeds, like Oxidus gracilis in your photos, that can SURVIVE under water for surprising lengths of time, and I’m not sure why but perhaps it is because an air bubble gets trapped around their spiracles, as in some diving beetles. Once the oxygen in that air bubble is depleted, however, the milliped/beetle must replenish it with more air or drown.

Hope this is helpful.

Rowland M. Shelley, Ph. D.
Curator of Terrestrial Invertebrates
North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jun 24, 2012June 24th, 2012, 1:59 pm EDT
Hmmmmmm, curiouser and curiouser...

Jonathon

P.S. Shouldn't be hard to imitate - I'd use ostrich herl for the legs myself...
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Jun 24, 2012June 24th, 2012, 6:36 pm EDT
Gee Roger! Nothing like going to the source for an answer...:) The Curator of Terrestrial Invertebrates...Wow! As my mother used to say, "You learn something new every day." My wife thinks I can put them asleep now when I explain to guests the "Life Cycle of the Mayfly"...Wait until I corner one of our dinner guests with what I know about millipeds! :)

As Jess might say, "Nice play, bro!"

Spence

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Taxon
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Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Jun 24, 2012June 24th, 2012, 7:32 pm EDT
Hi, Spence. It's great to hear from you again. Actually, I've found that most professional entomologists are extremely gracious about answering questions from a non-credentialed enthusiast like me, particularly when they are not asked to identify a specimen from a photo. :-)
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Jun 25, 2012June 25th, 2012, 7:53 am EDT
Fascinating. Thanks for following up, Roger.

Kurt, I don't think the inchworm was imitating the millipedes. I was fishing near the confluence of two creeks. I spent most of my time fishing in one of them, then noticed the millipedes in the other one as I was getting into position to fish the pool at the confluence just before leaving. I didn't notice any millipedes in the stream I fished most of the time. Sorry if my previous posts lacked clarity - it may have sounded like I tried fishing the millipede "hatch". I didn't have time to explore either upstream or downstream very far from the place loaded with millipedes - I may have just stumbled upon a concentrated migration path. If fish take these, though, it wouldn't surprise me if they could be a really important terrestrial, though - like many others, I have seen them by the thousands on streamside rocks many times. I'll probably tie up a few imitations to test that hypothesis the next time I run into a concentration in the stream. In a pinch, a large caddis larva or small hellgrammite tie might make a pretty good imitation.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jun 25, 2012June 25th, 2012, 10:41 am EDT
For clarity, the millipedes I found in NY were NOT "aquatic" just in damp areas close the stream.
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jun 25, 2012June 25th, 2012, 7:13 pm EDT
Kurt, I don't think the inchworm was imitating the millipedes...

Oh well... Woulda been cool though!:)
"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
Jmw975
Guelph, Ontario

Posts: 20
Jmw975 on Jun 28, 2012June 28th, 2012, 3:50 am EDT
No, there are no aquatic millipeds in N America or anywhere else in the world.


Interesting indeed. The information I had on aquatic millipedes in Australia came from another millipede specialist, Dr. Dennis Black of La Trobe University, whose PhD was on millipede taxonomy. It seems even the experts can't agree!

Jeff
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Aug 5, 2012August 5th, 2012, 12:00 pm EDT
This past weekend, while fishing the West Branch for the first time, we ran into a bait fisherman who was in the process of landing a brown. He manhandled the fish pretty good, and while extracting his worm from the fish's gut, he squeezed the fish pretty hard and some of the stomach contents came up with the worm. Among the blob of goo? Several of these millipedes.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Aug 7, 2012August 7th, 2012, 8:17 am EDT
Neat.

I was back in the Hudson Highlands in July and my son found a mass of those same flattish (dorso-ventrally) millipedes we'd found along the little headwater creek last spring. "Hundreds" my son said. These however were along a boardwalk a good 100 yards from water (a little stream). It appears they mass up in large numbers at times.
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Aug 7, 2012August 7th, 2012, 10:22 pm EDT
Some transparent brown vinyl for the body, ostrich herl for the legs...maybe a size 10 nymph hook, bent slightly...who knows, could be deadly...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...

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