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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.

Dorsal view of a Epeorus albertae (Heptageniidae) (Pink Lady) Mayfly Nymph from the East Fork Issaquah Creek in Washington
This specimen keys to the Epeorus albertae group of species. Of the five species in that group, the two known in Washington state are Epeorus albertae and Epeorus dulciana. Of the two, albertae has been collected in vastly more locations in Washington than dulciana, suggesting it is far more common. On that basis alone I'm tentatively putting this nymph in albertae, with the large caveat that there's no real information to rule out dulciana.
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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FredH
FredH's profile picture
Lake Charles , Louisiana

Posts: 108
FredH on Mar 27, 2014March 27th, 2014, 5:49 am EDT
I was given a dobsonfly specimen and I am unfamiliar with them. The photos I have seen before show two large mandibles. This one has no large mandibles and two long feathery antennae.Is the difference due to the insects gender or region, or is it a sub species?

Thanks , Fred
Taxon
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Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Mar 27, 2014March 27th, 2014, 7:10 am EDT
Hi Fred-

I believe you are describing an adult fishfly, which is closely related to a dobsonfly. It's in the same order (Megaloptera) and family (Corydalidae), but in different subfamily (Chauliodinae), rather than (Corydalinae).

Did it look like this?
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
FredH
FredH's profile picture
Lake Charles , Louisiana

Posts: 108
FredH on Mar 27, 2014March 27th, 2014, 7:35 am EDT
Thanks Taxon . That is exactly what it is. I've lived here all my life and this is the first one I have ever seen.
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Mar 27, 2014March 27th, 2014, 3:07 pm EDT
I'm guessing the feathery antennae means it's a male -if they are anything like moths, finding females via pheromones.

I remember an educator friend telling mew of a meeting he had with a graduate student researching communication in moths. They were to meet by some picnic tables in a park. My friend asked, "How will I recognize you?" She laughed and replied, "Oh, you'll have NO trouble." When he arrived there was a girl sitting at a picnic table with a cluster of moths orbiting her. Her work involved isolating and handling female sex pheromones for a particularly common moth species.

This, presumably, is a female fishfly:
Taxon
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Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Mar 27, 2014March 27th, 2014, 4:04 pm EDT
Paul-

I'm guessing the feathery antennae means it's a male ...


Yes, the operative terms are pectinate (comb-like) and serrate (saw-like).

Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
Catskilljon
Upstate NY

Posts: 160
Catskilljon on Mar 27, 2014March 27th, 2014, 5:12 pm EDT
Just so I know, do male Fishflies have the large tusks like male Dobsonflies? I see these in the Catskills a lot [they are attracted to my porch lights at night] but a friend told me they were not Dobsonflies.

As far as size is concerned, are Dobsonflies bigger? CJ
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Mar 27, 2014March 27th, 2014, 8:04 pm EDT
"When he arrived there was a girl sitting at a picnic table with a cluster of moths orbiting her. Her work involved isolating and handling female sex pheromones for a particularly common moth species."

Paul, I have an even funnier story to tell you that a professor who studied insect behavior told us during my entomology Masters at Michigan State. A certain fellow was preparing for some field trapping using sex pheromones to capture gypsy moths (I think or something similar), and they were in a hotel room loading pheromone traps. During the process, one of the researchers needed to use the men's room. Afterward they continued loading taps and prepared for the next day's field work. Well, upon arriving at the field site, moths began to arrive and land on this fellow's crotch all day long, until he had quite a few buzzing around his nether regions..."Why are all these moths on my crotch??" Apparently this fellow had a wedding to attend to a few days later and was standing up as a groomsman, and right in front of the crowd two moths came and landed, you guessed it, right on his crotch...

Moral of the story? Wash your hands!!!

And yes, as a person with an entomology degree, when you see large plumose antennae on an insect, you can assume it's a male. Apparently some of these antennal systems are so sensitive that they can pick up and react to single molecules of pheromones(!), and so can pick up the scents of females at distances of miles.

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

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Mar 28, 2014March 28th, 2014, 3:36 am EDT
Just so I know, do male Fishflies have the large tusks like male Dobsonflies? I see these in the Catskills a lot [they are attracted to my porch lights at night] but a friend told me they were not Dobsonflies.

As far as size is concerned, are Dobsonflies bigger? CJ

I don't believe fishflies have the giant mandibles that dobsonflies do. And the dobson's are the larger. Roger?

That's an amusing story, Jonathan. You know, when our parents or teachers said "You never know what you'll end up doing for a living", they weren't kidding. I've done some weird things (from most people's perspective) myself.
Taxon
Taxon's profile picture
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Mar 28, 2014March 28th, 2014, 5:21 am EDT
Hi Paul-

I don't believe fishflies have the giant mandibles that dobsonflies do. And the dobson's are the larger. Roger?

Adult dobsonfly males have incredibly long crossed, tapered, curved mandibles, whereas the females have short stout mandibles, which more closely resemble those of a Carabid beetle larva.

Adult fishflies probably also possess mandibles, but if so, they are small enough to not be obvious, as in your photo above.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com

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